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About Ovarian Cancer.

News: A new early stage ovarian cancer diagnostic test launched in February in the UK! See www.OvPlex.co.uk for full details.

Why it's so important to be aware?

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, after breast, lung bowel, and uterine cancers. Each year around 6,800 women in the UK are diagnosed with the disease.

It is the highest gynaecological killer of women in the UK and the fourth most common cause of death from cancer in women. Around two thirds of those diagnosed will die from the disease.

If found in the early stages, up to 90% of women will survive for more than five years. Unfortunately, most women in the UK are not diagnosed with ovarian cancer until it has already spread, making successful treatment difficult, and survival rates much lower.

There is currently no proven screening tool for ovarian cancer but a large-scale screening trial is underway and initial results are encouraging – especially in terms of the number of cases of ovarian cancer being detected early. However, there are several years to go before the trial is completed, and the researchers will need to assess survival rates to get a clearer idea of how effectively these screening methods translate into saving lives. Improving awareness of the common symptoms of ovarian cancer and developing a better understanding of how to treat it more effectively through investment in research, will play a vital role in ensuring women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer at an earlier stage and they receive the most effective treatment.

90% of ovarian cancers are not 'familial'. This means that most women will not have any family history of this cancer, so they may not be aware of symptoms and risk factors.

Awareness of the disease and its symptoms is low but there is growing evidence that suggests that greater awareness could save lives. In 2007, research commissioned by Ovarian Cancer Action on the awareness of ovarian cancer, demonstrated that only 16% of women mentioned the disease when asked to name cancers they were aware of, and 66% of women were unable to cite any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Recent research has shown that most women do experience symptoms, particularly very frequent, persistent and sudden onset ones, and these can occur in the early stages of ovarian cancer.

The UK has poor survival rates, and is positioned seventh in the list of European Countries for high ovarian cancer incidence and mortality rates.

Source: Ovarian Cancer Action

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