On Thursday 8th March John Lynch from Ovarian Cancer Action came over from London to deliver two awareness talks in the Pavilion, Stormont and Bruce Street. The sessions were part of a series of events held for International Women’s Day and were open to all civil servants.
Each talk covered the following topics:
There is currently no reliable screening test for ovarian cancer, meaning that symptom awareness is our best means of early detection. The key symptoms to look out for include persistent bloating, feeling full quickly, abdominal pain and needing to wee more often.
It is also important to note that the smear test, (now more commonly known as the cervical screening test), is not used to detect ovarian cancer. This is a method of detecting abnormal cells in the cervix that could lead to cervical cancer.
When a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Northern Ireland, the odds are stacked against her. Ovarian cancer is the biggest gynaecological killer of women in the UK, and Northern Ireland has one of the worst survival rates in Europe. Only 32% of women in Northern Ireland will survive five years beyond their diagnosis. Whether they live in Belfast, Ballymoney or Belcoo, women across Northern Ireland deserve better.
The charity Ovarian Cancer Action is calling for an updated Northern Irish national clinical audit of ovarian cancer. Collecting the most recent data will be vital to help identify transform survival rates in Northern Ireland and to reduce inequality across Northern Irish ovarian cancer care. However, an audit cannot be funded without a Government in place. Ovarian Cancer Action would be grateful if you could show your support for a new audit ready for when a Government is formed. You can write to your MLA to ask them to join the call for an Ovarian Cancer Audit, a template letter can be found here.