National Association for Patient Participation

NI Ovarian cancer awareness month

28 March 2017

March is ovarian cancer awareness month.

For many women receiving treatment for ovarian cancer or other long term conditions, building a trusting relationship with a family doctor is vital for medical treatment, advice and reassurance. In a recent YouGov survey carried out for RCGPNI, over three quarters (76%) of people said that seeing a doctor they know is important to them.


Family doctors hugely value the bond they build with individuals and families over time and strive to make sure they have enough time to spend with their patients. Awareness days and months dedicated to shining light on specific conditions, such as March being dedicated to ovarian cancer awareness, to highlight the importance of patients having the time they need with their GP to get advice, treatment and information on how to manage their condition. Being diagnosed with an illness is very difficult and people often need maximum support from their loved ones and their health care professionals to support them through their treatment.


Unfortunately, patients and doctors do not always get to spend as much time together as they would like. GPs are aware that with increasing workload in general practice, they are working under a lot of time. The RCGPNI Put Patients First campaign has been calling on the government to take action and address the pressures in primary care so that GPs will have more time to spend with patients and in particular allow adequate time for symptoms to be discussed and aid early diagnosis as well as support during and after treatment.


To mark ovarian cancer month, Karen Mooney, a member of the RCGPNI Patients in Practice group, has written a poem about how important it is to share symptoms with a family doctor:


Worries about your Ovaries?


Reluctant to talk about those precious bits inside

They makes us who we are so please do take a pride

In knowing your own body, looking out for change

Be mindful of symptoms, there is usually a range


Persistent pelvic pain and abdominal bloating

Feeling full quickly, with difficulty eating

Need to wee more often and run quickly to the loo

Changes in bowel habits when you do a poo


Extremely tired and losing weight

Post-menopausal bleeding do not wait

For symptoms to pass just see you GP

Write them all down so the doc can see


How often it happens, what symptoms are new

It’s your precious body so look after you

Please be brave and share your worries

Talk to your doctor about your ovaries


You can find more information about ovarian cancer symptoms via Target Ovarian Cancer: sign up to our Put Patients First Campaign to support general practice.

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