Ovarian cancer awareness campaign launched

Ovarian cancer symptoms are being highlighted in a public awareness campaign to be launched by the cancer support charity Ovacome this week.

The mnemonic 'Beat' is being used to help women remember that if they have signs of ovarian cancer (bloating, eating less, abdominal pain) they need to talk to their GP.

The charity says that, although these symptoms are unlikely to be caused by ovarian cancer, it is important to have that diagnosis ruled out.

Research by Ovacome showed that almost all women with ovarian cancer were unaware of the disease's symptoms before diagnosis and many had not heard of the condition.

Posters for practices will be available for download from the charity's website.

The Beat acronym is based on the work of the UK consensus group, which was led by Professor Mike Richards, England's national clinical director for cancer. Professor Richards has welcomed the launch of the campaign. ‘I very much hope that this campaign will lead to earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer thereby saving women's lives,' he said.

In addition to Ovacome's campain, the charity Target Ovarian Cancer has helped developed an online tool to help GPs diagnose ovarian cancer. The tool is available via the BMJ Learning website. It covers signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and diagnostic tests, working through a series of case studies to test knowledge.

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