read that Researchers funded by the Department of Health compared the survival rates of 20,000 patients in five countries - Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the UK. The UK ranked worst." />

Why does UK Ovarian Cancer treatment lag behind other countries?

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This is a very unpleasant statistic considering that ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the UK and affects over 6,500 women a year. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are similar to those of other conditions so it can be difficult to recognise until the disease is more advanced, and experts had thought late diagnosis could explain the UK's poorer track record. But the findings, in the journal Gynecologic Oncology, suggest problems accessing successful treatment are to blame.

"The results show that the proportion of women with advanced disease is similar to that in other countries, but that survival for women with advanced disease is much lower". One year survival was 69% in the UK compared with 72% in Denmark and 74-75% in the other three countries. Women with advanced stages of the disease fared the worst - 61% survived for at least a year in the UK compared with up to 74% elsewhere. The UK was also worse at recording how far tumours had spread.

Many women with a very early stage of ovarian cancer often don't have any symptoms at all. Symptoms may be very vague but can include pain or bloating of the abdomen. Other symptoms can include loss of appetite and changes in bowel or bladder habit

Sara Hiom, of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), said: "This disturbing research advances our knowledge about what needs to be done to tackle lower ovarian cancer survival in the UK."

It is very concerning to hear that we are falling behind other countries in the treatment of ovarian cancer. I hope that changes will be made to ensure that women can receive the treatment that they deserve.

Patricia Wakeford

Solicitor - Clinical negligence Team

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