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One woman dies of ovarian cancer every two hours in the UK

Ovarian cancer Green ribbon

Figures released today, to mark the start of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, show on average each year ovarian cancer steals 90,533 years from UK women who die before their time. In 2016 alone the disease robbed women in the UK of 91,658 years.

Research charity Ovarian Cancer Action analysed data from the Global Health Data Exchange and found on average, ovarian cancer shortened a woman’s life by nearly two decades (19 years). That’s not just a number, that’s missed anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and first days of school; countless hugs and precious moments.

Identifying the symptoms of ovarian cancer (stomach pain, bloating, feeling full more quickly, and needing to wee more frequently) is currently the best way to diagnose the disease but most symptoms present in later stages when cancer has begun to spread around the body and the chance of a woman surviving beyond five years from her diagnosis drops to as low as 4%.

The charity has today launched the ‘Stolen Moments’ campaign, a drive to highlight the devastating effect of ovarian cancer, raise awareness of its symptoms and launch its £1million fundraising campaign dedicated to early detection of the disease.

Ovarian Cancer Action hopes to develop a screening tool and replicate the success of cervical screening, which has almost halved the number of cervical cancer cases in Great Britain since it was first implemented in the 1980s.

Katherine Taylor, chief executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said:

“When a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the odds are stacked against her. Recurrence is high and survival rates are poor; no woman should live in fear of either.

“There is currently no screening tool for ovarian cancer and we want to change that. Our scientists want to develop a screening tool that will detect pre-cancerous cells that can be treated before they develop into ovarian cancer.

“We only have to look at the success of cervical screening to understand that early detection saves lives. To be clear, cervical screening does not detect ovarian cancer – which is why we are determined to develop a similar process to prevent women developing ovarian cancer. Investing in medical research will give future generations more time with the ones they love.”

Case Study – Danielle Golding, 25, hair stylist from Reading

Danielle Golding was just 23 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer

Danielle Golding was 23 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer

Danielle was just 23 when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It took months of going back and forth to the hospital before finding out she had tumours on both of her ovaries and required immediate surgery.

As a new stylist in a busy salon in Reading, Danielle was experiencing excruciating pain in her side but battled on with her day-to-day. It wasn’t until her mum drove passed her walking down the street, almost bent double, that made her make an appointment with the GP.

Being so young, Danielle was suspected to have appendicitis and was sent straight on to A+E. It was a routine blood test that flagged something more serious could be at bay. It took months of visits back and forth to the hospital until she was finally diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Danielle was told she had tumours on both of her ovaries which was worrying as she had been trying to start a family.

Danielle, said: “My partner and I had been trying for a baby for a while now, so I think the biggest blow was hearing that the doctors couldn’t extract eggs from my ovaries as the tumours were too aggressive. I had a normal life and had just started a new job, then suddenly I had to quickly undergo extensive surgery in October 2015. When I woke up, I was told my ovaries and fallopian tubes had been removed but I still had my womb.

“All of a sudden I was 23 and going through the menopause. Luckily my boss has been amazing and I was able to go back to work gradually. My partner is incredible and has been my rock, I don’t know how I could have got through the last few years without him by my side. We’re hoping to be able to have a baby through IVF in 2018 and I want to share my story to encourage women at any age with symptoms that don’t feel right to go to their GP immediately”

Almost two decades are stolen from a woman who dies of ovarian cancer in the UK. A screening tool would change this. Help Ovarian Cancer Action raise £1million to protect future generations – visit www.ovarian.org.uk or Text OVCA12 plus the amount you would like to donate to 70070.

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