A campaign to highlight awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and improved genetic testing are among measures recommended by a group of MPs including shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson.
Eleven women die every day from ovarian cancer in the UK.
Survival rates are among the lowest in Europe, with fewer than half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer surviving five years after diagnosis.
Releasing results from its first ever inquiry into improving ovarian cancer diagnosis, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Ovarian Cancer said their recommendations could save hundreds of lives each year.
The group of MPs, who campaign for improvements in ovarian cancer within parliament, also suggest moves to ensure all women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed within the Government’s new 28-day target for cancer diagnoses.
We must continue to look and learn, both from other cancers and other countriesLee Rowley, MP
They said a national campaign could address the current low levels of awareness about signs to look out for – with just one in five women able to name bloating as a key symptom of the disease.
They said improved access to genetic testing could prevent an estimated 15% of all cases of ovarian cancer caused by the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations.
Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie announced she had made the decision to have her ovaries removed after discovering she carries a faulty copy of the BRCA1 gene.
Sharon Hodgson, who chairs the APPG, said: “This report highlights that progress has been made in recent years – from improved access to diagnostic tests for GPs to new, clearer guidelines for diagnosis.
“But there is still more to do. Alongside my fellow parliamentarians, I will continue to act as a champion for women with ovarian cancer in parliament. Together we will work to make sure the recommendations set out in this report are acted on.”
Vice-chairman and Tory MP Lee Rowley said: “During the inquiry we heard from leading experts in UK cancer care.
“It is clear that while there are areas where we are leading the way, we must continue to look and learn, both from other cancers and other countries.
“The cancer strategy for England offers a real opportunity to deliver a step-change in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
“Following the publication of our report today, I look forward to learning more from NHS England and Public Health England on their plans for how the cancer strategy will deliver for ovarian cancer.”
Rebecca Rennison, director of public affairs and services at Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “Target Ovarian Cancer works alongside parliamentarians to secure the changes we need in awareness and diagnosis of ovarian cancer so women in the UK have the best possible chance of surviving this disease.
“While progress has been made, there is still so much to do, in particular if the cancer strategy for England is to deliver for less common cancers such as ovarian cancer.
“This report sets out what needs to happen and we look forward to working with parliamentarians on its implementation.”