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"Women deserve better"

18 July 2017

Marie-Claire Platt

report published today has shown that Britain has the worst survival rates in Europe for ovarian cancer.  Marie-Claire Platt, Our Head of Operations and Campaigns, highlights the need for earlier diagnosis and better access to treatments in the UK.

Currently in the UK only 34% of women will survive for five years, compared to a European average of 41%. If that’s not bad enough, British women with cancer also have the fourth highest mortality rate in Europe, and are significantly worse off than their European counterparts. Countries such as Cyprus, Portugal and Estonia all have higher survival rates for women with cancer.  

Every two hours a woman in the UK dies from ovarian cancer. Experts have attributed this to a number of reasons: a serious lack of treatment options; access to high quality surgery; and a lack of awareness of the disease and its symptoms. But it is maddening to think that woman in comparable countries such as Germany and France have more chance of surviving this devastating disease than those diagnosed in Britain. Something needs to be done immediately to bridge this gap and ultimately save lives.

"Women in the UK deserve better. That’s why we won’t accept the status quo – we’re fighting for a world without ovarian cancer, but we need your help."

Marie-Claire Platt

While the results of this study are shocking, they are also in line with a bigger picture in which women’s health is not being taken as seriously as men’s.

In her 2014 annual report ‘Health of the 51%’, the Chief Medical Officer called for a national clinical audit of treatment and survival trends for women with ovarian cancer in England. Previous audits in bowel, head and neck and oesophageal-gastric cancers have all resulted in increased survival rates. Three years on, we’re still pushing for this audit to take place.

It’s not just the Government that needs to get a grip on the issue. When public conversations about BRCA and life saving cancer prevention surgery include words like “self-mutilation” and “boob-job”, it undermines years of campaigning for woman to be empowered by knowledge of their cancer risk.

Women in the UK deserve better. That’s why we won’t accept the status quo – we’re fighting for a world without ovarian cancer, but we need your help. Join us. Fight with us. Act now.

Donate today to help fund Ovarian Cancer Action’s research and change the future for thousands of women.