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Why we need to talk about ovarian cancer on International Women's Day

08 March 2017

Public affairs and operations manager Marie-Claire Platt


On International Women’s Day, Marie Claire Platt, our Public Affairs and Operations Manager, tells us why today is an important moment to talk about ovarian cancer.

“International Women’s Day is being celebrated round the world today and I, for one, am a big fan. A whole day to celebrate all things female, I’m wearing red, midway through a new Margaret Atwood novel, and my ‘Independent Women’ playlist is loaded up ready for the commute home.

But this year, I’ve been thinking a bit more about what International Women’s Day is really about. While I love the fact that Snapchat has allowed me to transform myself into Marie Curie with an IWD filter, it’s not just a day to celebrate the amazing women of the past and present, it’s a day for action for the women of the future too.

Health inequality is a serious issue. Females in the UK have the 4th highest cancer mortality in Europe. Our male counterparts have the 8th lowest. Cancer incidence rates in the UK are projected to decrease year on year in males from now until 2035- while females will see an increase every year over the same period. Can you see a pattern emerging?

Women are more likely to prioritise the health of their children, partners, parents (and even pets!). 90% of women don’t know the symptoms of ovarian cancer – the most deadly gynaecological disease. This is a disease that strikes the heart of what it means to be a woman. It’s time we fought back.

At the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre, we’ve got some of the best minds working on how to beat ovarian cancer. Many of these researchers are women, including the amazing Professor Christina Fotopoulou.

While I’ll be listening to Beyonce on the way home, I’ll also be thinking about how we can harness this movement to take action against the UK’s most deadly gynaecological disease. IWD’s 2017 message #BeBoldForChange will be sticking with me until we beat this disease together (all ideas welcome!).