World Ovarian Cancer Day 2022

Please join us in supporting World Ovarian Cancer Day on Sunday 8 May.

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.

As well as supporting each other and sharing their experiences, they provide advice and input into research and clinical trials to improve our understanding of the disease and to help determine the best treatment options for each patient.

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.

“Whilst I walk and think about where I am today, I hope World Ovarian Cancer day also reminds people we are so fortunate having the skills of dedicated medical and research specialists who strive tirelessly to achieve better long term outcomes for patients and eventually a cure for this terrible cancer.”

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.”

Melanie talks about her ovarian cancer experience in this Centre podcast.

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.

Read more about the women changing the story of ovarian cancer.

It is with great sadness we announce that Margaret passed away on 27 March 2024.

Margaret was an active member of the Public and Patient Involvement Group for Ovarian Cancer for over three years, following her diagnosis of stage 3 ovarian cancer. Despite undergoing recurrence of her cancer and gruelling treatment, she generously shared her personal experience of ovarian cancer to support others and inform our research. In her role as a core member of the pioneering DEMO project, she was passionate about increasing the understanding and uptake of genetic testing in ovarian cancer patients, especially in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

We are so grateful to Margaret for giving her time and energy selflessly to raise awareness of ovarian cancer research and the need to do more to help ovarian cancer patients in future.

5 May 2022