Each year about 7,500 women in the UK are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and around 5,000 will have the most aggressive form of the disease. Only 43% of women in England survive five years beyond their ovarian cancer diagnosis, compared with more common cancers such as breast (85%) and prostate (87%).
Our Ovarian Cancer Patient Group is a group of women who are at the centre of pioneering research in Cambridge that’s changing the outcome of ovarian cancer.
To mark World Ovarian Cancer Day, women in the Ovarian Cancer Patient Group are walking every day in May to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research in Cambridge.
Margaret was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer at the end of 2020. Following surgery and chemotherapy, she is now being treated with a targeted cancer drug called PARP inhibitors.
She said: “From the 1st May I shall be walking to reflect and remind myself and people I know how lucky I am to have survived ovarian cancer so far. The sad truth is so many women are still being diagnosed at such a late stage of ovarian cancer, for which the outcome still remains very grim.
In this video Margaret, Melanie and three others from the Ovarian Cancer Patient Group share their experiences of ovarian cancer and explain why they want to help with research and to raise awareness of this disease.
Melanie was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic ovarian cancer in 2018. She immediately agreed to join research trials because of the chance that it may help her treatment and the treatment of others in future.
She said: “Positivity continues to drive me forward and I’m fortunate to have bags of energy. I want to take every opportunity to get out, head to the beach, with my family and our dogs and just walk and breathe! I will always be thankful to the scientists, researchers, clinicians and all who make up the Cambridge team. It’s great to be alive! You must be so proud of the work you do.”
The women meet virtually several times a month, offering each other support during a life-changing time. Their unique experiences are helping to frame and refine research questions, as well as improve service delivery, in a programme led by Professors James Brenton and Evis Sala at the CRUK Cambridge Centre.
Without the women, the research would not be possible, says Brenton: “Every blood test they’ve done; every scan; every appointment, monitoring their own tumour… every contribution to reviewing and improving the science proposals to understand what they are suffering from… these amazing contributions all bring us closer to overcoming ovarian cancer, not just in Cambridge, but all over the UK and the rest of the world.
“It’s because of individuals like these that the future for other patients has the potential to be very different. With their help, we’re changing the story of ovarian and other cancers. We’re starting to get better at detecting ovarian cancers earlier and earlier, and treating them more precisely, giving more women the chance to live longer, healthier lives.”
If you wish to support the Ovarian Cancer Programme please visit our fundraising site. All funds generously donated will be used to support research into ovarian cancer as well as supporting future developments. Additionally, the money will be used to sponsor patient involvement in a diverse range of studies.