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It’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and we’re putting the spotlight on age inequality

01 March 2021

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Over 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, with more than a third over the age of 70. Yet, in the first of a series of reports highlighting inequalities in ovarian cancer, women over 70 are not receiving the standard of care necessary to survive ovarian cancer.  

The headlines:

  • Almost half (48%) of patients aged 70-79 do not have surgery to treat their ovarian cancer, despite it offering the best long-term prognosis for the disease. 
  • One in five (22%) of ovarian cancer patients aged 70-79 received no treatment at all for their cancer, rising to three in five (60%) for women over 80 years old. 
  • Women over 70 are also less likely to be asked to take part in research or clinical trials than those under 70, denying them access to new and innovative treatments

The impact on an ageing population

In 20 years it’s estimated that over a quarter of the population will be over 65 - that’s over 20 million UK residents. The 85+ population is set to double by 2041 and treble by 2066. 

What are we doing about it

Today’s figures are from the first of a series of reports from Ovarian Cancer Action set to break down the health inequalities that exist for women facing an ovarian cancer diagnosis, ranging from their age and ethnicity to where in the country they live. To transform survival rates for women who face these health inequalities, we have been awarded £1.2 million from the UK Government Tampon Tax Fund to launch a project that will establish best practice in offering treatment to these patients and empower the NHS to ensure every woman receives the best possible care.

Marie-Claire Platt, Head of Research and Public Affairs of Ovarian Cancer Action, said: “A woman with ovarian cancer deserves the best chance to survive her disease, no matter what her age. We urgently need to understand why for many women this is not being reflected in their care. The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably set us back, but now is the time for us to take action and ensure that every woman receives the best possible standard of care and that no woman is left behind.”

Giving women the care they deserve

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Pamela Bonati was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 78. She has received a high-standard of care and her experience is an example of the care all women deserve, despite their age. From a swift diagnosis to being offered a combination of surgery and chemo to treat the disease. Pamela is currently undergoing treatment and hopes to join a clinical trial in the near future. 

“I have my ups and downs but generally fare well” shares Pamela. “Some days I have to pinch myself to remember I have cancer. Before my diagnosis I was swimming, walking and travelling at every opportunity and I hope to be back doing those things again eventually. I’m very grateful for the excellent treatment I have received and the time it gives me with my rock of a husband, my son and his wife and our wonderful friends. I sincerely hope I have a lot more living to do.”

Help us reach a world where no woman dies of ovarian cancer

Women don’t just deserve better; they deserve the best. The best care, the best treatment, the best chance at living their best life. We hope that you agree and you’ll join us in our mission to get there.

Donate now