A national symptoms awareness programme is essential to increase awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms with the general public. Target Ovarian Cancer, Ovacome, Ovarian Cancer Action and The Eve Appeal are campaigning for ovarian cancer to be included in the Be Clear on Cancer programme.
Despite recent improvements, cancer survival rates in the UK still continue to lag behind our European neighbours. Research has shown that much of this deficit can be attributed to poor public awareness of cancer symptoms and late diagnosis. Achieving world-class cancer outcomes: a strategy for England 2015-2020 estimates that its implementation should result in an additional 30,000 patients per year surviving cancer for ten years or more by 2020, of which almost 11,000 will be through earlier diagnosis.
The Department of Health has launched the Be Clear on Cancer programme in 2010. This aims to improve the general public’s knowledge of key cancer symptoms and as a result improve early diagnosis.
In July 2012 the Department of Health announced that ovarian cancer was to be included in the programme, with local awareness pilots taking place across England in early 2013.
In September 2013, the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England announced that ovarian cancer awareness would be taken to a regional level, including TV advertising, taking place in the North West in early 2014. This is now being evaluated, before a decision is taken on whether a national programme would go ahead.
Interim findings were published in February 2015 and showed the campaign had succeeded in raising awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer among the target audience of women over 50. The full findings are due to be published in early 2017.
Target Ovarian Cancer, Ovacome, Ovarian Cancer Action and The Eve Appeal have worked closely with the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England to ensure the success of the programme, sharing our knowledge and expertise. We will continue to campaign for the programme to move to a national level, offering the best chance to raise awareness of the symptoms with the greatest number of women.
To learn more about the Be Clear on Cancer ovarian cancer programme, download briefing sheets, artwork for posters and t-shirts, and GP information visit the BCancer Research UK Be Clear on Cancer pages.
Sharon Hodgson MP, Chair of the APPG on Ovarian Cancer: “I am very pleased by this decision, and look forward to seeing the impact it will have. The recognition that ovarian cancer is a major health concern for UK women is long overdue, so this is an important step forward, and one that could potentially save many women’s lives.”