A CANCER sufferer has welcomed a national pledge to raise awareness about ovarian cancer.
This week, health ministers agreed to add ovarian cancer to the awareness programme, Be Clear on Cancer, which is running throughout this year.
Donna Marie Hannah today welcomed the move and said she hopes it will help to save lives by highlighting telltale signs of the disease.
Earlier this year, the 38-year-old was diagnosed with rare cancer mesonephric adenocarcinoma and forced to undergo a radical hysterectomy to remove her uterus, cervix, ovaries and some pelvic nodes.
Donna, of Oxclose, Washington, has since been given the all-clear, but pledged to continue to raise awareness about gynaecological cancers.
She said: “This is really great news because not a lot of people know about the symptoms, and if this can save one life then it’s done its job.
“Although I’m 38 and don’t class myself as young, the doctors told me I was too young to have cancer and they were obviously wrong.
“In hospital I met so many women, many who were younger than me, that were battling cancer and I think this is a myth that needs to be dispelled.
“People also need to go to the doctors if there is something wrong.
“Remember, you know your own body and you know if something doesn’t feel right.”
The aim of the Be Clear on Cancer campaign is to shine the spotlight on various forms of the disease, including bowel and lung cancer, to highlight symptoms and improve early detection rates.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has also praised the Government’s move.
“About 6,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year.
“But many of them don’t see a doctor until it is too late to treat, because they don’t associate the symptoms with cancer.
“I am therefore very pleased by this decision and look forward to seeing the impact it will have reducing the numbers of avoidable deaths.
“The recognition that ovarian cancer is a major health concern for UK women is long overdue so this is an important step forwardand one that could potentially save many women’s lives.”
Target Ovarian Cancer’s chief executive, Annwen Jones, who lobbied the Government, added: “This is an important development and one that will genuinely save lives.
“Currently only three per cent of UK women are very confident of spotting a symptom of ovarian cancer, demonstrating the desperate need for an awareness programme.
“We would like to pay tribute to the hundreds of women who have tirelessly campaigned alongside Target Ovarian Cancer, ensuring this issue has risen up the political agenda.”
SYMPTOMS of ovarian cancer are frequent, persistent and include:
l A persistent swollen stomach and abdominal distension;
l Difficulty eating or feeling full;
l Pelvic or abdominal pain;
l Increased urinary urgency and/or frequency;
l Other symptoms can include unexpected weight loss, change in bowel habits, and extreme fatigue.