Research shows that women with ovarian cancer are more likely to make repeated visits to the GP before being referred for diagnostic tests, and, almost half are diagnosed with another condition before receiving their ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Tackling diagnosis requires change at every point in the process, from updating public and GP knowledge, to improving access to diagnostic tests and developing healthcare systems to fast-track women through the required tests. A future where everyone gets the earliest possible diagnosis is an ambitious but necessary goal.
Building a strong foundation
The Target Ovarian Cancer essay prize is an open invitation to all undergraduate medical students to upgrade their knowledge of ovarian cancer by taking a deep dive into ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Supporting doctors at all points in their career is essential. We are passionate that doctors of the future benefit from better knowledge and have the opportunity to learn about ovarian cancer in a way their predecessors never did.
We were delighted to award Alice with the 2018 essay prize at the Medical Student’s Day hosted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Undergraduate Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
I had not appreciated how hard ovarian cancer is to diagnose. After completing the essay I had a placement in General Practice, several women presented with symptoms that can be associated with ovarian cancer. It was interesting to see how the response to these symptoms varied between different practitioners.
Alice’s new knowledge will no doubt help her in her future career in gynaecology and sexual health:
There is a lack of awareness surrounding gynaecological disorders, it is very important to open the conversation and continue to de-stigmatise these topics so that people are more able to recognise what is healthy and normal and when to seek help.
Undergraduate medical students are invited to submit an essay to the 2019 essay prize.
What about the doctors of today?
Target Ovarian Cancer’s primary care programme challenges today’s healthcare professionals to set aside their misconceptions about ovarian cancer and modernise their thinking. Our e-learning modules and a GP Toolkit support GPs and GP practice nurses to update their knowledge and get symptomatic women on the right diagnostic pathway sooner.
We collaborate with leading educational partners to ensure that ovarian cancer is on the agenda at GP conferences and learning days today, and believe our essay prize is strengthening the ovarian cancer knowledge of the doctors of tomorrow.