A woman who lost her daughter to a devastating disease has opened the first ovarian cancer support centre in the UK in her memory.
Maureen Clarke, whose daughter Julie died of ovarian cancer in 2002, opened the Fitzwilliam Street centre last week, marking Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the city.
The Angels of Hope Centre is open to all gynaecological patients and their families and offers support and counselling.
Angels of Hope founder Mrs Clarke said: “We are hoping to provide a home- from- home environment for these women and their families. We want to steer things away from the clinical side of things.”
Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the silent killer, with symptoms common to many other diseases, and often going un-noticed and untreated until it is too late. Maureen believes more information is vital for women.
“When Julie was first diagnosed I would have loved this kind of place to be available. We couldn’t even get an information leaflet in the local area,” she said.
“It is still very much a taboo subject for everyone — all gynaecological diseases are. There is now an openness about men’s diseases, with prostrate and testicular cancer screenings well reported, and we need to raise the profile of women’s diseases to the same level.”
There are 200 new cases of ovarian cancer in Northern Ireland every year.
The centre will be open Monday to Thursday each week between 9.30am and 4pm. Telephone 90 241 310 for more information.