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Northern Ireland women 'least likely to survive cancer', says charity

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 24/06/2015

Una Crudden died after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer
Una Crudden died after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer

Women in Northern Ireland with ovarian cancer have the lowest survival rates in the UK, according to a leading charity.

The report by Target Ovarian Cancer showed a 'postcode lottery' across the UK of access to clinical drug trials and survival rates.

The charity said a woman living in East Anglia in England was 20 times more likely to be on a clinical trial than a woman in Northern Ireland,

In Northern Ireland, 3% of women with ovarian cancer were in clinical trials compared to 65% in East Anglia.

It also showed that 30% of women here with ovarian cancer survived five years or longer. This compared to 39% in Scotland and 46% in the north of England.

Each year about 180 women in Northern Ireland are diagnosed with the disease. Yet in 2013-14, only six women here were recruited to an ovarian cancer trial.

The local figures were sourced between 2003 and 2007 from the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry.

But Professor Richard Wilson, Clinical Director of the Northern Ireland Cancer Trials Network and a consultant oncologist, said: "This will alarm women with ovarian cancer in various parts of the UK which are perceived from this report to have poor education in symptom assessment, more limited access to nationally approved observational research studies and clinical trials, and worse survival; but where none of these may be true."

Alex Holden from Target Ovarian Cancer welcomed Professor Wilson's comments but added|: "This does not detract from the importance of Northern Ireland taking steps to improve outcomes for women with ovarian cancer, to bring survival up to the best performing regions in the UK."

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