Thousands of women’s lives are lost due to ovarian cancer due to unnecessary delays in diagnosis, warns the damning report
- Report from the charity Target Ovarian Cancer says there is a huge zip code lottery
- In England the diagnosed percentage before untreatable varies from 56% to 29%
- GPs and women themselves often do not know which symptoms to look out for
- This means that for many diseases, the disease is not detected until it has spread throughout the body
Thousands of women’s lives are lost due to ovarian cancer due to unnecessary delays in diagnosis, experts warn today.
A report from the charity Target Ovarian Cancer says there is a huge zip code lottery in the speed at which women are diagnosed.
GPs and women themselves are grossly ignorant of the symptoms – which means that for many people the disease is only noticed when it is too late. This can be the difference between life and death.
A woman with an early diagnosis of ovarian cancer has more than 90 percent chance of surviving the disease.
Thousands of women’s lives are lost due to ovarian cancer due to unnecessary delays in diagnosis, experts have warned today (submitted)
Yet one in five women is diagnosed too late to receive no treatment at all – and one third of women die within one year of their diagnosis.
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in British women, with 7,500 diagnosed each year and 4,100 deaths as a result.
The point at which women are diagnosed varies greatly in the UK. In England, the percentage of women diagnosed at stage one or two – at which time the cancer can still be treated – varies from 56 percent in the best performing areas to 29 percent in the worst.
WHY OVARIAN CANCER IS CALLED A ‘SILENT KILLER’
It is diagnosed so late because it is in the pelvis, according to Dr. Ronny Drapkin, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who has been studying the disease for more than two decades.
“The pelvis is like a bowl, so a tumor there can become quite large before it becomes really noticeable,” Dr. said. Drapkin to MailOnline.
The first symptoms that occur with ovarian cancer are gastrointestinal because tumors can begin to press up.
When a patient complains of stomach and intestinal complaints, doctors are more likely to focus on dietary changes and causes other than suggesting screening for ovarian cancer.
Dr. Drapkin said it is usually only after a patient has undergone persistent gastrointestinal symptoms that they will receive a screening that reveals the cancer.
“Ovarian cancer is often said to be a silent killer because it has no early symptoms, while in fact it is symptoms, they are just very common and can be caused by other things,” he said.
“One of the things I tell women is that nobody knows your body as well as you. If you feel that something is wrong, something is probably wrong. “
In Scotland, 46% of women are diagnosed at stage one or two, in Wales this is 43% and in Northern Ireland 45%.
Part of the reason for this variation is the lack of a screening program.
And the tests that are available are inconsistent.
Target ovarian cancer discovered that some GP practices have the standard CA125 blood test 90 times more per 1000 patients on their list than others.
Annwen Jones, general manager of the charity, said: “Time is essential when faced with an ovarian cancer diagnosis.
“The countless delays that women are currently experiencing are completely unacceptable.
“Ovarian cancer goal has played a pioneering role in improving diagnosis and saving lives, but time is running out.
“What we urgently need now is joint action by governments in the UK to address these horrific diagnostic delays.
“Together we can prevent women from unnecessarily dying from this disease.” The charity also warned that few women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
A major problem is that the symptoms are often confused with mild symptoms.
The warning signs include bloating, feeling full, stomach ache and often having to go to the toilet – all problems that may have to do with irritable bowel syndrome or other common conditions.
And only one in five women can identify bloating or abdominal pain as a warning signal – and only one in 100 knows that more urinating is a red flag.
As a result, three out of ten women wait three months or more before visiting their doctor. And when they go to the doctor, the professionals are poorly equipped to do much about it.
About 44 percent of GPs believe that the symptoms of ovarian cancer are only present in the later stages of the disease, the charity warned.
But 86 percent with ovarian cancer at an early stage do have symptoms. Ovarian cancer can and should be caught early, the report said.
A health ministry spokesperson said: “People with cancer deserve the best possible treatment and we are determined to detect more cancers at an earlier stage, saving an estimated 55,000 lives each year.
“We are also developing rapid diagnostic centers for people with non-specific symptoms, often associated with cases of ovarian cancer, and have recently announced £ 200 million for new advanced machines to improve the quality and speed of cancer diagnosis.”