LABOUR’S  TEAL HEROES IN SUPPORT OF WOMEN WITH SARCOMA AND OVARIAN CANCER

MSPs Monica Lennon and Jackie Baillie – support for women with cancer.

By Lucy Ashton

Jackie Baillie MSP has shown her super-powered support for women with ovarian cancer across the Dumbarton Constituency.

At a special event sponsored by Ms Baillie’s Scottish Labour colleague Monica Lennon MSP, Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Women’s Health she was given the chance to dress as a ‘teal hero’ to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

The event was organised to coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March.

Teal is the colour of ovarian cancer awareness, which continues to be alarmingly low in Scotland.

Data from Target Ovarian Cancer shows just 23 percent of women in Scotland would be able to name bloating as a symptom of ovarian cancer.

The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

  • Persistent bloated tummy
  • Always feeling full
  • Tummy pain
  • Needing to wee more often or more urgently

Jackie Baillie said: “Over 4,000 women in the UK die of ovarian cancer each year, and awareness of the key symptoms remains too low. We must come together and act now to make sure everyone knows what look out for, and that those affected by ovarian cancer face better outcomes.

“That’s why I was delighted to join others and take part in this year’s Teal Hero event with Target Ovarian Cancer to create positive progress.”

Alexandra Holden, Deputy Chief Executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “It’s been brilliant to see MSPs become awareness superheroes today. We know that much more needs to be done to increase awareness of ovarian cancer and save lives.

“It is so important that we continue to come together at events like this to work to transform the future of ovarian cancer. We look forward to continuing to work with these MSPs to make improvements in diagnosis and survival that women with ovarian cancer and their families deserve.

Over 7,000 women are diagnosed each year in the UK, and over 4,000 women lose their lives each year. Target Ovarian Cancer works to raise the profile of ovarian cancer, spread the word about the symptoms, and train GPs in early diagnosis.

Target Ovarian Cancer is the UK’s leading ovarian cancer charity which works to improve early diagnosis, fund lifesaving research and provide much-needed support to women with ovarian cancer. See www.targetovariancancer.org.uk

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie MSP met with Sarcoma UK recently to discuss the work the charity is doing to improve the speed at which sarcoma cancer is diagnosed.

The MSP is delighted to support Sarcoma UK in helping give every single person with sarcoma the best chance of survival.  Early diagnosis is key as only 55 percent of sarcoma patients live beyond five years.

Sarcomas are uncommon cancers that can affect any part of the body, on the inside or outside, including the muscle, bone, tendons, blood vessels and fatty tissues. 15 people are diagnosed with sarcoma every day in the UK, around 5300 people a year.  

The later a sarcoma is diagnosed, the less likely someone is to survive. Sarcoma patients face hurdles at almost every stage of their diagnosis, from GP awareness, scanning, delays, and getting referred to a specialist centre. Initial diagnosis is often inaccurate and compared to other more common cancers, fewer treatment options are available.

Signs and symptoms of sarcoma include:

  • A lump which is growing, changing, or bigger than a golf ball
  • Swelling, tenderness or pain in or around the bone which may come and go and may be worse at night
  • Stomach pain, feeling sick, loss of appetite or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
  • Blood in either your faeces or vomit

Jackie Baillie said: “It’s unbelievable that only 25 percent of people know what sarcoma is, and I’m proud to work with Sarcoma UK to help raise awareness of this rare cancer. It is also clear to see that more needs to be done to improve the speed and accuracy at which sarcoma is diagnosed so that patients in Scotland have the best possible chance of survival.

“It’s great to see this charity raising public awareness about sarcoma and its symptoms, while funding vital research into better treatments and supporting patients and loved ones through their Sarcoma UK Support Line.”

Richard Davidson, CEO of Sarcoma UK, said: “Early diagnosis is one of the key drivers for improving survival, and through discussions with supporters and clinicians, academic research and survey results, we have so far found three key challenges to diagnosis: public awareness, healthcare professional awareness, and the diagnostic pathway.

“Sarcoma UK welcomes the support of Jackie Baillie in boosting public awareness of sarcoma and putting early diagnosis on the agenda in Scotland.”

Sarcoma UK is a national charity that funds vital research, offers support for anyone affected by sarcoma cancer and campaigns for better treatments. It is the only cancer charity in the UK focusing on all types of sarcoma.

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