A message from our Chief Executive, Annwen Jones OBE, on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and our commitment to supporting women with ovarian cancer, now and in the future.
The past few weeks have brought disruption like we’ve never seen before in the NHS. We’ve heard directly from people experiencing problems getting diagnostic tests and women with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer whose treatment has been delayed or changed. GP referrals for suspected cancer have nosedived, causing anguish for anyone worried about ovarian cancer. Clarity has been in short supply.
Our overriding priority through this whole period has been to be here for you, to be your safety net and to provide that clarity. I’m here to update you on what we’ve been doing to support our community, and as the peak of the outbreak passes, our plans for the future.
How are we supporting our community at a time of crisis?
We’ve focused on offering high-quality support both through our nurse-led support line and new online events like our interactive session on coping with uncertainty, Q&As with cancer clinicians, and weekly yoga for relaxation. We can’t be together in person for the time being but we are working hard to support you in this new way and are pleased to see more and more of you becoming involved.
Mandy from Gateshead attended one of our first online events. She says:
With your online sessions, it’s great to see other women, because I feel really isolated. Even locally, support groups for women with ovarian cancer specifically are few and far between, so these sessions are a godsend. Even when things return to normal I’ll still be unsure about going out, and I’ll definitely still use these online sessions. They feel personal, and I feel so much better connected to other women with ovarian cancer.
Making sure cancer treatment and diagnosis gets back on track
Across the UK the NHS is now stepping up services that were affected by the pandemic. We’re committed to making your voice is heard to ensure that ovarian cancer diagnosis and care returns to normal as quickly as possible. If you would like to share your experiences, you can take our survey.
We will continue our work with decision-makers and our main areas of focus will be:
- Continuing to share the symptoms of ovarian cancer and support women concerned about symptoms to contact their GP
- Ensuring that, as far as possible, diagnosis and treatment goes ahead and steps to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on women with ovarian cancer are in place
- For those whose treatment has to be reviewed, changed or postponed, making sure this is done in consultation with their treatment team
- Making sure there is a clear recovery plan so ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment and support returns to pre-pandemic levels as quickly as possible
There are extraordinary times, and we are deeply grateful for the extremely generous support that we have received to enable us to step up our vital support and advocacy work during the pandemic, and beyond.
Target Ovarian Cancer is here for you now, and we’ll be here for as long as we’re needed.