14 May 2024
Ovarian Cancer

I fully recognise the urgency of the campaign being run by Target Ovarian Cancer to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms and reduce the time to diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Please be assured that the Government and NHS are committed to improving awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, with the NHS working towards the 75 per cent target for early cancer diagnosis to be achieved by 2028.

NHS England is taking steps to improve pathways to get people diagnosed with ovarian cancer faster once they are referred. This includes exploring non-specific symptom (NSS) pathways for patients who do not clearly fit into a single “urgent cancer” referral pathway but are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer. The NSS pathways will help support faster ovarian cancer diagnosis.

The Government is also providing the investment to improve waiting times for cancer diagnosis and treatment, including for ovarian cancer.  This includes capital funding that is delivering community diagnostic centres that will help increase the number of tests, scans and checks that can take place. Surgical hubs are also being expanded to provide dedicated facilities for elective care, including for ovarian cancer.  These new facilities are focusing on several specialties, including gynaecology.

In addition, the National Institute for Health and Care Research has funded six research projects into screening for ovarian cancer since 2018, which includes assessing the impact and effectiveness of different kinds of testing and screening and effectiveness of treatment options.  The aim of this research is to improve diagnosis and treatment to improve patient outcomes.

I believe that these actions will help to improve awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms, support earlier diagnosis of the disease and ensure more women can be treated earlier.