The East Belfast MLA has joined forces with Una Crudden to urge the Health Minister to invest in a focussed campaign raising awareness of the disease – often known as the silent killer – in the hope more lives could be saved.
The Health Minister is due to speak at the event on Monday, March 3, which will also see Stormont’s great hall light up teal in recognition of ovarian cancer month. He will be joined by Frances Reid, CEO Target Ovarian Cancer UK and Maeve McLaughlin MLA, Assembly Health Committee Chair, as well as cancer charities, clinicians, consultants, GPs, women who have ovarian cancer and families who have lost relatives to the disease.
Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Ovarian Cancer remains one of the most common causes of death from cancer in women, but if diagnosed at an early stage the outcome could be much better.
“Unfortunately the disease is still widely known as the silent killer, with symptoms often not realised until the progression of the disease is too advanced. An ovarian cancer awareness campaign could allow much better survival rates.
“In 2012 a Target Ovarian Cancer pathfinder study revealed women in Northern Ireland were among the least aware of signs of ovarian cancer, with just 3% able to confidently identify a symptom. Despite this little action has been taken by the Health Department.
“It is clear from these figures that an awareness campaign would benefit women in Northern Ireland and has the potential to save lives – which was recognised by the Assembly in 2013 when MLAs voted unanimously for such a campaign.
“I am looking forward to hosting the event alongside Una Crudden, who inspires everyone she meets with her dedication to raising awareness of ovarian cancer and the courage she shows in her own battle against the disease.”