New report ranks UK ovarian cancer survival 45th out of 59 countries

31 January 2018
Doctor

UK ovarian cancer survival rates rank 45th out of 59 countries across the globe, according to research published today in medical journal The Lancet. The data, from 2010-2014 found only 36.2 per cent of women survive beyond five years, highlighting the desperate need for earlier diagnosis and better access to treatments in the UK. 

Survival rates lag significantly behind the USA, where 43.4 per cent of women survive beyond five years, as well as our European counterparts (France, 43.5%) and Germany (41.2%). Shockingly, British women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have less chance of surviving the disease than those in countries such as Thailand, Turkey and Romania.

Experts have attributed these figures to a number of factors. These include a lack of spending on cancer treatments; fewer specialists; less access to high quality surgery and a poor awareness of the symptoms of the disease.

Katherine Taylor, Chief Executive of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “This study highlights just how appalling ovarian cancer survival rates are in the UK. Women deserve better. We need earlier detection and better treatments and we need them now. Ovarian cancer has four main symptoms. They are persistent stomach pain; persistent bloating, feeling full quickly and needing to wee more often. If you recognise any of these, be as persistent with your GP as your symptoms are with you.”

An NHS spokesman responded to the study, stressing that data was collected before a new cancer strategy was launched in 2015 and that cancer survival rates are, in fact, improving. However, despite the Chief Medical Officer calling for a national clinical audit of treatment and survival trends for women with ovarian cancer in the UK, we’re still pushing for this audit to take place.

Help fund research at the University of Oxford into the development of an ovarian cancer screening tool.