A woman with ovarian cancer looking at the camera wearing a black head scarf and a black top

We now know the UK trails other countries in early ovarian cancer diagnosis

Today sees the release of a global study from the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Among other things, it shows us that women in the UK are being failed when it comes to early diagnosis of ovarian cancer in comparison with other countries.

The World Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s Every Woman Study is the largest ever global review of the experiences of over 1,500 women with ovarian cancer from 44 countries. The study has found that across the world, two thirds of women had never heard of ovarian cancer or did not know anything about it before their diagnosis. The study also shows that UK women are waiting longer for a diagnosis - only 30 per cent are diagnosed within a month compared with 43 per cent globally.

Target Ovarian Cancer’s Chief Executive, Annwen Jones, is Vice Chair of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, and Co Chair of the Every Woman Study.

Sue Rizzello was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. She said:

I had never heard of ovarian cancer or the symptoms before I was diagnosed. I experienced fatigue and bloating, but passed it off to overworking and putting on some weight. The GP said the bloating definitely wasn’t fluid, but when the symptoms continued I kept going back and luckily a locum GP sent me for a CA125 blood test. We need to act now so that more women know the symptoms of this disease, and especially so that the system is set up to give more of us a fighting chance at an all-important early diagnosis.

Target Ovarian Cancer is campaigning for the changes needed to make early diagnosis a reality for women with ovarian cancer in the UK. We want to see:

Annwen Jones, Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer and Co-Chair of The Every Woman Study said:

Today's Every Woman Study shows how the UK trails the rest of the world in diagnosing ovarian cancer early. The Every Woman Study shows how much more needs to be done to make that goal a reality. These measures could save lives, and women simply cannot wait any longer.

The report also sheds light on the situation faced by women all across the world who have a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The survey of over 1,500 women in 44 countries, reveals:

  • Low levels of awareness of ovarian cancer as a global problem resulting in delays in women seeking medical attention
  • Lack of awareness among doctors may also be a significant factor when it comes to delays in diagnosis
  • Variations in access to genetic testing pre and post diagnosis where there is a family history of ovarian cancer
  • Variations in access to specialist treatment - despite this being a vital step that can improve outcomes 
  • Variations between countries in terms of what is done well and what is most challenging

Annwen will be attending the full launch of the Every Woman Study today, ahead of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2018 Congress, Munich.