Here's a little something for you to ponder over the winter break.
In England the NHS piloted a cancer awareness-raising campaign, 'Be Clear on Cancer', which uses advertising time to highlight some of the warning signs of cancer. Ovarian Cancer symptoms were included in this. The pilot ran in the North-West of England but was seen in other areas depending on which channels people are accessing.
I for one was delighted to see the advert because we have very poor 1-year survival rates in Wales and no awareness-raising campaign. I certainly learnt about the symptoms of other cancers and feel this knowledge, and an interest in cancer could be important in saving lives because I wouldn't be frightened to mention it if I noticed someone with symptoms that should be checked out.
The evaluation of the regional pilot in the N-W isn't expected for another 4 - 6 months but Sean Duffy, National Clinical Director for Cancer, told the recent APPG (All Party Political Group) for Ovarian Cancer that the plan to roll out the campaign across England will not take place.
Those of us observing or participating in the APPG were very disappointed. Mr Duffy reported that the campaign had led to an increase in the number of women knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and an increase in referrals, but those referrals had generally been in the under-50s age group, which was not the target group, and had not led to an increase in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Sean Duffy recommended instead that efforts are renewed to educate GPs.
There were a number of challenges to this. Patients told Sean Duffy that a 3-4 month pilot was not long enough for information to cascade to the people who would benefit from it. It was pointless educating GPs if women weren't aware of the symptoms so they didn't see their doctor in time. One observer felt that GPs in the pilot area were prevented from accessing diagnostic tests and another wondered, given the area was the poorest performing in the UK, whether it would have been better to launch the pilot in an area that was more successful but clearly could do with improvement. Part of the poor performance of the N-W may be linked to pre-existing infrastructure or resourcing issues.
I'm interested to know whether you saw the television advert explaining the symptoms of ovarian cancer and where you saw it.
If you saw it did you feel it was helpful in raising awareness of ovarian cancer?
Did you think it is a good idea to get people talking about cancer through a television advertising campaign?
What do you think the benefits of the campaign would have been? Are there issues that have been missed by the NHS?
It would be great to get some ideas and feedback on this from the people who are most affected by Ovarian Cancer.
By the way, if you are worried about someone, you can check out the early signs of various cancers at the following website: nhs.uk/be-clear-on-cancer