A group photo of the Target Ovarian Cancer team at Westminster

Pathfinder: One year on

Driving awareness and improvements in ovarian cancer is happening, but your help is vital

It’s been a whole year since the launch of Pathfinder 2022: Faster, further, and fairer and the latest findings of this state-of-the-nation groundbreaking research. 

We've covered 2,026 miles across the UK to stand in front of every government to highlight the crisis in ovarian cancer in each nation, meeting 100 supporters and over 50 MPs, MLAs, MSPs, and MSs. 

In 22,000 words we evidenced the need for urgent action to be taken and what needs to be done by each government to stop this ovarian cancer in its tracks. We showed how over 7,000 women diagnosed every year in the UK are being let down every day and how we will no longer allow them to be overlooked.

The Target Ovarian Cancer team outside Scottish Parliament holding the Pathfinder report

What we called for 

Increased awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms

 According to our research, one in five women don't know bloating is a key symptom of ovarian cancer, and concerningly, 40% wrongly believe cervical screening detects ovarian cancer. Without an effective screening programme, we know that symptoms awareness can lead to an early diagnosis which could be lifesaving.  

What we did:

  • We asked you to write to your elective representatives requesting they attend our Pathfinder launches in Westminster, The Senedd, Holyrood, and Stormont to hear how a lack of awareness is contributing to late diagnosis and too many lives lost. Over 50 MPs attended our events including the Chair of Health Select Committee in Westminster and Minister for Health and Social Care in Wales.  

  • We shared your experiences with the press – putting faces and names to the statistics our research revealed. Your experiences were featured in 353 news outlets showing the real-life impact a lack of awareness, funding and support is having. Together, we reached 104 million people with the symptoms.  

  • Read our articles in The Metro, Mail Online, Nation.Cymru STV, The Scotsman, MSN UK, Daily Express, Daily Record, The Scotsman and Belfast Live 

What we called for 

MPs to pledge to support faster diagnosis, fairer access to treatment and further, wider support for everyone diagnosed with ovarian cancer  

It's unacceptable that nearly a third of women wait over three months for the correct diagnosis. And once they receive that diagnosis, there is a severe lack of support. 60% of women report a negative impact on their mental health, but our research showed that 54% of respondents hadn’t been asked by anyone involved in their treatment about the impact on their mental health. More must be done to address these shortcomings.  

What we did:   
  • At our Pathfinder launches we met with elective representatives and told them the issues those living with ovarian cancer are facing, and how they can utilise their position to help us take action.  

  • We went to the Senedd to tell the Health and Social Care Select Committee in Wales how badly women with ovarian cancer are being let down by the government. At the inquiry into gynaecological cancers, we told the stories of hundreds of women who have not been heard, who have not been given time to discuss their diagnosis and how a prevalent a lack of awareness is in Wales, and the harm this is causing.  

  • Following our Pathfinder launches, we launched a campaigning action which saw 1,200 demand the governments in Wales and Scotland to fund a national campaign highlighting the symptoms of ovarian cancer. 

A collection of images from Target Ovarian Cancer Pathfinder events

What’s next

Some of our demands are being heard, but we must keep the pressure on to ensure change happens. 

We will:
  • Demand that UK governments fund awareness campaigns. Since the launch of Pathfinder 2022, we have secured to national awareness campaigns in England and Scotland. The Help Us Help you featured abdominal pain as a symptom, while in Scotland the Detect Cancer Early campaign featured campaigner Christine’s story about the importance of symptoms.  

  • Engage more MPs by launching a MP Champions programme. We are asking MPs to pledge to be a Target Ovarian Cancer Champion and raise awareness of the disease, and support their constituents affected by ovarian cancer. You can ask your elective representative to be a Champion

  • Provide you with the tools you need to campaign locally. Leaflets, press releases and guides, we have it all in our newly updated Campaigning Toolkit. Your support is vital to raising awareness among the public, GPs and MPs. Find out more about our Campaigning Toolkit

  • Ensure your stories and lived experiences are at the heart of our work and communications. We will continue to share your stories with MPs and news outlets to demonstrate the impact this disease is having on your lives. Your stories are imperative to showing how this disease is impacting lives. Find out more about sharing your experience.

Target Ovaran Cancer supporter Mags, Monica Lennon MSP, and CEO Annwen Jones talking at the Scottish Pathfinder event

Progress is possible, with the right support 

Together over the last year we have raised our collective voice and refused to be overlooked. Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of death among women, yet not enough progress is being made.

It’s with your support that we can fast forward early diagnosis, awareness, research and support. This is an ideal time to look back on the revelations of Pathfinder 2022 and what needs to be done to stop this disease devastating more lives.

Now it’s time to look forward and to the future, and see what you can do by taking our messages into your communities, to your MP and driving forward further change.

Pathfinder 2022: Faster, further, and fairer