Almost a third of women with ovarian cancer had to wait six months for a diagnosis after they first went to see their doctor, according to a new study.
75% of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer after it has spread
Cancer of the ovary is the fifth most common cancer among women, and can affect women of any age. As the symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague it has traditionally been known as the "silent killer".
Women diagnosed at the earliest stage of the disease have a five year survival rate of 92%. However, the UK has one of the worst ovarian cancer survival rates in Europe, with only 36% of sufferers living for five years after diagnosis.
If the UK could match the best rates in Europe, 500 lives a year could be saved. But charity Target Ovarian Cancer warn that women in the UK are “facing delays that are costing lives” when it comes to diagnosis.
According to the charity’s Pathfinder Study, almost a third of women surveyed with ovarian cancer had to wait six months for a diagnosis after they first went to see their doctor.
58% of these women were misdiagnosed- 30% with irritable bowel syndrome, 15% with ovarian cysts, and 13% a urinary tract infection.
To further increase delays, one in ten GPs have had diagnostic tests refused in the past year for their patients. Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said:
"75% of women are diagnosed once the cancer has spread. This is unacceptable."
"We must improve symptom awareness with women, improve GP knowledge and ensure they have prompt access to diagnostic tests."
All private health insurance policies offer cover for private diagnostic tests. This means that after going to see a GP with your symptoms, you will have access to the necessary scans without waiting on a list.
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