A BUXTON mum is spearheading a drive urging women and GPs to act on new guidance about how to spot Ovarian Cancer in a bid to stop women dying from the disease.
Eilish Colclough was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 39 and has spent several years campaigning with the charity Target Ovarian Cancer to raise awareness of the condition often referred to as the “silent killer”.
And now Eilish, whose cancer is terminal, is urging people to act on new guidance issued by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) on how to spot the disease, so women can be diagnosed and treated earlier, and lives may be saved.
Her call is being supported by Target Ovarian Cancer, who say that official figures show accurate and swift diagnosis of the fourth most common cancer killer of women could help save up to 500 lives a year in the UK.
There is no national screening programme in place and Ovarian Cancer is often initially wrongly diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) so once the cancer is actually discovered, it is often too late for many women.
Eilish said: “This guidance for GPs and women is really important and a major step forward in making sure that women, wherever they live, get the right tests and a diagnosis as quickly as possible.
“I urge women and GPs to take note of the symptoms and stop calling this disease the ‘silent killer’. It has symptoms and women’s lives can be saved only if more people know about them.”
NICE’s guidance includes key priorities for implementation such as being aware of the symptoms and signs to look out for, particularly if a woman reports having symptoms on a persistent or frequent basis; carrying out the appropriate tests for ovarian cancer in any women aged 50 or over who have experienced symptoms within the last 12 months that suggest IBS and asking the right questions if symptoms suggest ovarian cancer is present.
Eilish is also trying to make women more aware of the symptoms to look for so they can see their GP and be tested as early as possible.
And Target Ovarian Cancer is calling for the Department of Health to launch a national awareness campaign to ensure that women are informed about the disease, and for the NICE guidance to be implemented swiftly and consistently.
• Eilish’s journey - see page two.