We can't give back the stolen moments, but you can help us catch the thief
Almost two decades are stolen from a woman who dies of ovarian cancer in the UK. Years of missed anniversaries, birthdays, weddings and graduations. The countless hugs and cups of tea.
Symptoms such as bloating, loss of appetite, needing to wee more frequently and stomach pain present when cancer has advanced and a woman’s chance of survival has already dropped. We want to catch ovarian cancer in its earliest stages, ideally before it even develops. There is currently no screening tool for ovarian cancer and we want to change this.
Prevention is better than cure
When a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the odds are stacked against her. Recurrence is high and survival rates are poor. No woman deserves to live in fear of either.
We want to replicate the success of cervical screening, which has halved the number of cervical cancer cases since its introduction. Our scientists want to develop a screening tool that will detect pre-cancerous cells that can be treated before they develop into ovarian cancer.
We’re making progress
Professor Ahmed Ahmed and his team have already made a huge discovery in identifying a protein called SOX2 that exists in women with or at high risk of ovarian cancer; the catch is that it’s hard to get to. His team are now looking for other changes that take place simultaneously to the SOX2 protein production. By harnessing different markers, we hope to find another marker that is easier to test for. Read our Q&A with Professor Ahmed.
“If we are to make a major difference in our fight against ovarian cancer it will be through early detection. We want to be able to detect and treat pre-cancerous cells before they develop into cancer or catch the disease in its earliest stages. To create a screening tool, we need to know exactly what we’re looking for and where to look for it.” - Professor Ahmed Ahmed of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.
Click on the links below to read stories by some of our incredible supporters who have been affected by ovarian cancer. (Campaign photography by Henry Kenyon).
"On the night before she died, Pamela wrote me a note on her phone to read to our daughter, Eve, who was fourteen at the time."
“We kept a seat free for Mum at my wedding and walking past the empty chair was so hard.”
"Most obvious and life changing is the loss of fertility. However, my life was at risk and I didn’t have a choice. I also didn’t have time to freeze any eggs before starting chemotherapy because my cancer had already spread."
“I lost my 20s to cancer. I feel like I’m a few stages behind where the rest of my friends are with a lot of things”
“They said it would be about 5 years. I did the calculations quickly in my head and realised it didn’t give me enough time; it didn’t take me to my daughter finishing school, it didn’t take me to my 50th birthday.”
“I was diagnosed at stage 1. It would have been later - maybe too late if I had waited”