Ovarian cancer month
20 March 2013
March is ovarian cancer month and Southend University Hospital wants to raise the profile of this serious disease.
The UK has one of the worst survival rates in Europe for this
type of cancer. Symptoms can often be mistaken for other medical
problems and three quarters of woman are only diagnosed once the
cancer has spread.
Sufferers experience persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic
pain, urinary and/or bowel problems and difficulty in eating. 30
percent of sufferers are misdiagnosed with irritable bowel
There is no single test that clearly identifies this type of
cancer. Women with symptoms can have a CA125 blood test which
measures protein in the blood. High levels could indicate ovarian
cancer but could also mean ovarian cysts or endometriosis. If high
levels are found, a follow up scan will take place to detect the
Every year during ovarian cancer month, consultant
gynaecological oncologist Mr Khalil Razvi tries to raise awareness
of this type of cancer. He recently held a meeting for local GPs
which was well attended, advising them on the symptoms to look out
He said: "Raising symptom awareness in the primary care
community, as well as amongst the general public is one of the key
tasks identified in battling this disease."
COPES (Cervical, Ovarian, Perineal, Endometrial Support) is a
local support group for women with gynaecological cancers. The aims
of COPES are patient support, raising awareness, research and
education. It is fully supported by Mr Razvi and his team of
clinical nurse specialists at the hospital.
Southend University Hospital is the cancer centre for South
Essex. The oncology services at the hospital diagnose and treat
cancer in its various forms as well as providing general cancer
treatment, including radiotherapy and chemotherapy.