A MOTHER-OF-FIVE from High Peak who is battling ovarian cancer has welcomed the inclusion of North Derbyshire in a new Government pilot scheme aimed at raising awareness of the disease.
Residents from North Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw will be taught to recognise the early signs of the disease – dubbed the ‘silent killer’ – after ovarian cancer was included for the first time in the Department of Health’s symptoms awareness programme Be Clear on Cancer.
Four initial pilot campaigns will take place early next year, and one of these will be in the North Trent Cancer Network, covering the north of Derbyshire.
Eilish Hoole, from Buxton, who is living with ovarian cancer after being diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease five years ago, has been a passionate campaigner with the charity Target Ovarian Cancer for increased awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
She hopes this latest move will help dramatically improve early diagnosis and boost survival rates - ultimately saving lives - but said that it still fell short of the ultimate goal of a national awareness campaign.
“I am thrilled to hear such fantastic news,” said Eilish. “This means so much to me and all women with ovarian cancer in the future.
“At last the Government is taking steps towards stopping needless deaths from this horrible disease.
“Target Ovarian Cancer and its supporters have been doing their best to improve symptoms awareness, but a large scale campaign will make a huge impact.”
Despite undergoing operations and chemotherapy, Eilish has been instrumental in helping the charity push the disease up the political and health agenda, from speaking in Westminster and lobbying MPs to rubbing shoulders with celebrities and addressing fellow cancer sufferers.
Her involvement in a series of parliamentary campaigns led to the establishment by MPs of an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer, which paved the way for the inclusion of ovarian cancer in the Be Clear on Cancer programme.
“This has to be credited to the MPs and the APPG who took the fight from Target Ovarian Cancer and from listening to women like me and wanting to make a change,” added Eilish.
“Rest assured we will not sit on our laurels as there is still so much to be done.”
Earlier this year, the outspoken campaigner shared a stage with Sarah Greene at the Rose Theatre Kingston during a fundraising evening for the Loving Linda Fund in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer.
Over £3,000 was collected on the night, with over £24,000 raised in total.
And in June, Eilish addressed an audience of politicians, ovarian cancer sufferers, policy makers and health professionals at a packed Parliamentary reception reporting on the progress of the ‘Six Simple Steps’ parliamentary campaign.
High Peak MP Andrew Bingham, who has met Eilish in Westminster, said: “Her courage and bravery are incredible. She works tirelessly to raise the awareness of ovarian cancer.
“The fact that it is included in the Be Clear on Cancer programme is due in no small part to Eilish. I am delighted that the North Trent Cancer Network is one of the first four pilot areas.”
Symptoms of ovarian cancer include: a persistent swollen tummy or abdominal distension; difficulty eating or feeling full, pelvic or abdominal pain; increased urinary urgency or frequency, as well as unexpected weight loss, a change in bowel habits and extreme fatigue.