Belfast Telegraph

Cancer campaigner Una Crudden dies: Tributes pour in for woman who fought for awareness of ovarian cancer

By John Mulgrew

Tributes have begun to flood in for much-loved cancer campaigner Una Crudden who has died aged 60.

Una Crudden fought tirelessly to highlight how women can spot the signs of ovarian cancer.

She was named Woman of the Year by the Belfast Telegraph, and while dealing with her own terminal cancer diagnosis, fought valiantly to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer following her own misdiagnosis.

On Twitter this morning, her daughter Lisa said: 'Goodbye to my beautiful mummy unacrudden . Sweet dreams to the bravest person I know xx'

The west Belfast woman's family also tweeted thanks to the public for their support.

'Una's family would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone for support at this sad time. Una's passing was very peaceful.'

Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle paid tribute to Ms Crudden.

"I am deeply saddened by the news that Una has passed away," he said.

"She was tremendous campaigner who secured commitments from the Health Minister and the Public Health Agency to increase awareness of ovarian cancer to help ensure that other women were more fortunate than her in receiving earlier diagnosis and treatment.

On Twitter, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: 'Sad to hear of the deaths of brave Ovarian cancer campaigner Úna Crudden & my dear friend Nuala Fleming twofinewomen'

Health Minister Jim Well said Ms Crudden was a "remarkable and very brave woman".

In September, Una Crudden's long five-year wait for an ovarian campaign got the go ahead.

At the time she was delighted the campaign had finally been launched.

Hairdressing salons, bingo halls, pharmacies and GP practices across Northern Ireland will now receive thousands of leaflets and posters highlighting the symptoms of the disease that claims more than 100 lives a year in Northern Ireland.

More than 150 women are diagnosed with the condition each year.

And earlier this year, her valiant efforts to raise awareness earned her the Belfast's Telegraph's Inspirational Woman of the Year Award.

Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson tweeted: 'Deeply saddened to hear that Una Crudden has passed away - My thoughts & prayers are with her family @unacrudden'

The SDLP's Fearghal McKinney said Una Crudden was a "brave woman and fierce campaigner".

"I was deeply saddened and upset to learn of the death of Una Crudden this morning," he said.

"Una was a tremendously brave woman and a fierce campaigner for an Ovarian Cancer specific awareness campaign.

"It was my great pleasure to support and work with her as she challenged successive Health Ministers to take action to make more women aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

"Una was also a huge voice in the campaign to end the inequality of cancer drug provision in Northern Ireland."

Una Crudden's push to raise awareness of ovarian cancer took her to Stormont - with her Teal Takeover campaign encouraging famous faces and members of the public to take pictures of themselves wearing the colour.

After being misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, Una faced the devastation of being told she was terminally ill with ovarian cancer in December 2009 and was given between three and five years to live.

Ms Crudden turned her own situation around, overcoming a natural shyness to address women’s groups, councillors and eventually politicians in her bid to create awareness.

She cried tears of joy last year as she sat in the debating chamber in Stormont as the Health Committee agreed to fund a public awareness campaign.

Paying tribute today, DUP MP David Simpson tweeted: 'My thoughts are with the family of the late @unacrudden. An inspirational lady who leaves a remarkable legacy.'

Alliance MLA Judith Cochrane tweeted: 'Very sad to hear that Una Crudden has passed away. What a remarkable woman who has done so much to raise awareness of ovarian cancer'

 

Una Crudden campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the dangers of ovarian cancer.

Below are a few key ways to help spot the symptoms.

How to spot the symptoms

* Ovarian cancer is most commonly misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome. Key symptoms are bloating and pelvic or abdominal pain.

* If these symptoms are constant or frequent then you should visit your doctor.

* Also be aware of back pain, fatigue, difficulty eating or feel full very fast.

* Although ovarian cancer isn't common in women under 40 it isn't unheard of. If you are unsure about your symptoms try recording them in a diary so they can be monitored over a long period.

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