World Ovarian Cancer Day
Today, Saturday 8th May, is World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD). This year the theme is #PowerfulTogether and Kids Sale WOW is joining the movement to raise awareness and stand in solidarity with all those affected both directly and indirectly by ovarian cancer.
More than 250,000 women are diagnosed with the disease every year and it has one of the lowest survival rates of any cancer. It can be difficult to pick up on due to the symptoms not being very distinctive, so often the cancer has progressed before it is detected. This means it is vital that we do our bit to educate ourselves and all our female friends and family of the warning signs. We found this infographic from the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition useful:
With only 45% of women with ovarian cancer surviving more than 5 years the need for research to improve prognosis is clear and this is where you can help. Whether it be through new treatments or better screening, both require detailed scientific research relying on funding that can be unfortunately hard to come by. Wellbeing of Women (WOW) are one of the only charities dedicated to supporting research into women’s reproductive health so are a key supporter of scientists looking into ovarian cancer. Here are some examples of the work their money is supporting:
Dr Garth Funston and his team at the University of Manchester have received £19,470 to find a new marker in the blood that could lead to earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer. With its generic symptoms hard to recognise, a new test could be a game-changer in diagnosing women before the disease has progressed.
Dr Susana Banerjee has been awarded £176,277 by WOW to research how older women suffering from ovarian cancer can receive more appropriate treatment. With clinical trials ongoing, it is hoped that the findings will shine a new light on why some patients respond to certain treatments better than others. From this it is hoped that a holistic assessment of a woman’s overall health as well as blood and tumour samples will lead to a choice of cancer treatment that improves their health and quality of life in the long term.
Dr Samar Elorbany has received £239,325 from WOW to research other options to treat ovarian cancers which do not respond to chemotherapy. Many women are left with few options if there cancer returns after an initial treatment because it is frequently chemotherapy-resistant the second time around. This research team is looking to programme the immune cells affected by cancer so that they can fight the malignant cells. This could help thousands of lives each year.
Dr Rachel Pounds is also researching chemotherapy-resistance and has received £20,000 of investment from WOW. She is trying to find out more about the mechanisms behind cells becoming resistant by looking at thousands of ovarian tumour cells individually and analysing her results. The research that she is doing will help to inform scientists looking for alternative treatment options, including Dr Samar Elorbany.
We hope these 4 case studies demonstrate the importance of the work that Wellbeing of Women are doing to support important causes. Keep your eye out for new developments in the field on the Wellbeing of Women website and in the meantime make sure you and the lovely women around you are aware of the warning signs of ovarian cancer.
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