Campaigner’s plea for support

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A Biggleswade woman who has had a diagnosis of ovarian cancer joined Alistair Burt MP in Parliament on November 23 to call for more support for women with ovarian cancer across the UK.

Amanda Cawthorn, 45, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014 and is a campaigner for better awareness of the disease.

Women with ovarian cancer are left stranded without vital support at every turn, from diagnostic tests to access to nurses, according to Target Ovarian Cancer’s state-of-the-nation Pathfinder 2016 study, which launched at the event.

Pathfinder 2016 found that:

>Just one in five UK women (20 per cent) could name bloating as a major symptom of ovarian cancer, an alarmingly low rate of awareness.

>Almost half of women (41 per cent) visited their GP three times or more before being referred for ovarian cancer tests, risking a delayed diagnosis.

>Less than half of cancer nurses (46 per cent) think that their cancer unit has enough nurses to care for all the women being treated there.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all the gynaecological cancers, with 15 per cent of women dying within two months of being diagnosed, and only a third of women surviving 10 years after their diagnosis.

Now Target Ovarian Cancer is calling on government and health bodies to improve services and invest to secure the futures of women with ovarian cancer today and those diagnosed tomorrow.

Investment is sorely needed, particularly in awareness-raising, to address the lack of cancer nurses, and to fund key research so more drugs and new therapies are available.

Amanda said: “Today I’m in Parliament to call on government and health bodies to invest in ovarian cancer care and support.

“I have been through the system and received surgery and chemotherapy after my diagnosis.

“It is so important that the 25,000 women living with ovarian cancer in the UK all feel counted, and receive the best care and access to new treatments.”

Mr Burt said: “I’m really pleased to be here to ensure that all women with ovarian cancer get the care, support and new treatments that are needed, so that women’s lives are transformed, now and in future.”

Pathfinder 2016 is the most-comprehensive study of its kind into the lives of people living and working with ovarian cancer in the UK. It surveyed women in the general population, women with ovarian cancer, GPs, nurses, friends and family to provide a comprehensive assessment of how lives can be saved and improvements made. Pathfinder launched in Parliament on November 23.

To find out more, visit www.targetovariancancer.org.uk/Pathfinder2016