Why women being aware of their bodies is more important
28 June 2021
As a major trial to detect ovarian cancer reports ‘disappointing’ results, our charity’s Chair, Nicky Thompson, looks at why being aware of our bodies is more important than ever…
“Much has been written in the press in recent weeks about ovarian cancer, with results of studies to screen and detect the disease not producing the results we had all hoped for. Some experts are saying that an effective screening programme for the disease could be a decade or more away.
“Speed of diagnosis is so incredibly important when it comes to improving outcomes for people with ovarian cancer, and the news that the possibility of screenings is not yet on the horizon means that it’s vital we all know the signs and symptoms to look out for.
“There are 3.7million women in the North West, and 940,000 of them are in the highest risk group. If detected early, survival rates of women with ovarian cancer increase significantly, but unfortunately, the symptoms are often mistaken for other less serious conditions, or people simply ignore them, meaning when they finally do seek medical advice, it is often sadly too late to ensure timely, effective treatment.
“When we formed The Dianne Oxberry Trust, we wanted to ensure that we reached out to as many women as possible in the North West, to help them better recognise the symptoms to look out for and so they could see their GP as soon as possible if they did spot anything unusual.
“We want to try to give as many families as possible the time Dianne didn’t get with her loved ones – and being body aware and alert to the signs of ovarian cancer is such an important part of achieving more positive outcomes for people with the disease.
“The symptoms of ovarian cancer include feeling persistently bloated, pain in the pelvis or stomach, loss of appetite, and needing to wee more frequently or urgently. Some people may also feel unusually tired, experience weight loss, have an upset tummy, or bleeding after the menopause too. The key is to recognise the warning signs and to take action quickly and see your GP. Most of the time there will be another explanation for the symptoms, but it’s so important to get them checked and rule out anything more serious.
“While it’s really disappointing that the latest trials haven’t yet produced positive results in terms of screening tests for ovarian cancer, we welcome the fact that research continues to help advance the diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
“While that work continues, please take just a couple of minutes from your day to check out our guide to the symptoms of ovarian cancer to look out for, and share with loved ones too. It really could mean the world of difference to thousands of women from across the North West.”