South West women facing delays in disease's diagnosis
A Devon woman who was diagnosed late with ovarian cancer is backing a campaign to reduce delays in spotting the disease in women across the South West.
Mary Chamberlain spoke yesterday, the day before data on delays in diagnosis was due to be published as part of Target Ovarian Cancer's Pathfinder Study, launched at the House of Commons.
Experts agree early diagnosis is essential to surviving the disease.
But according to the study, failure to spot the condition early in the South West is cutting women's lives short.
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It said some of the 601 women found to be suffering from the disease in the region each year face delays.
Mrs Chamberlain, 60, of Newton Abbot, said after initially being misdiagnosed her GP became suspicious enough to send her to his gynaecology surgery for a full check-up.
She said: "I then went to A&E, but the cancer was already at stage three by the time I was diagnosed. It has been a frightening time for me and my husband especially as the cancer has now returned twice more, but I am in remission at the moment.
"For too many, a delay means their cancer has already spread, and treatment is difficult."
Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: "Some 32% of women are diagnosed in A&E. 75% of women are diagnosed once the cancer has spread.
"This is unacceptable."