Shining a light on – Target Ovarian Cancer

Dr Sharon Tate, Head of Primary Care Development at Target Ovarian Cancer

8th March 2019

Target Ovarian Cancer: improving diagnosis, supporting women

One in five women in England are too ill to treat by the time they receive their ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Delays, which can include women not knowing the symptoms and therefore when to go to the GP, gaps in GP knowledge, and delays in getting the right diagnostic tests, can mean women are too ill by the time they receive their diagnosis to be able to withstand the invasive surgery and chemotherapy needed to treat ovarian cancer. At the moment these delays risk leaving many women facing no option other than palliative or end of life care.

Late diagnosis is a complex problem that needs a multipronged approach if we are to improve the outlook for women with ovarian cancer. Target Ovarian Cancer is tackling the problem head on with a number of innovative approaches.

Futureproofing ovarian cancer diagnosis

Educating GPs and GP practice nurses is an essential part of solving this tricky puzzle. Target Ovarian Cancer’s primary care programme challenges health care 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. Collaborations with leading educational partners, including MIMS Learning Live and Pulse Learning, puts ovarian cancer on the agenda at GP conferences and learning days.

We conduct research to gain a better insight into the factors that underpin regional variation in diagnosis. This data helps us to share good practice and develop new tools and approaches to support primary care professionals in diagnosing ovarian cancer sooner.

Target Ovarian Cancer is calling for a government-funded symptoms awareness campaign to educate women about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer so that they are more likely to seek advice in a timely fashion.

March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and an excellent opportunity to galvanise our supporters to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. We send out thousands of leaflets and posters to our supporters, local pharmacies, GP surgeries and hospitals to help them raise awareness.

Better support and information for women living with ovarian cancer

Three quarters of women with ovarian cancer say they do not get the support they need to cope with their diagnosis. We are committed to better support for women with ovarian cancer and their loved ones.

Our support events are a fantastic opportunity for women with ovarian cancer to come together, share their experiences, quiz our expert panel and access much needed practical and emotional support.

We provide award winning written and web based information designed to guide women through their ovarian cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond.

Our nurse-led Support Line provides confidential information, support and signposting for anyone affected by ovarian cancer. It provides a safe, confidential place to discuss concerns, from symptoms to diagnosis, treatment and beyond. Anyone affected by ovarian cancer can contact the Support Line on 020 7923 5475 or get in touch at www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/supportline.