September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month
Every year over 1000 wahine in New Zealand will be diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. Gynaecological cancers include ovarian, cervical, uterine (also known as womb or endometrial), vulva and vaginal. Over 400 wahine die from a gynaecological cancer each year.
The most common gynaecological cancer is uterine cancer but ovarian cancer is the most deadly. Ovarian cancer kills as many women as all the other causes of gynaecological cancer each year.
Cervical cancer is the only gynaecological cancer with a screening test. A screening test, is a test used to find disease before people have signs and symptoms. Cervical screening has been very effective at reducing deaths from cervical cancer because the cervix is easy to access and most cervical cancers take a long time to develop and have a common cause (the HPV virus). That is not the case for ovarian cancer.
NZ Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month is a time to put women’s health first. And to get comfortable talking about ovaries in public. Because not talking about them, kills women. It’s time to recognise ovarian cancer for what it truely is. A health crisis.
Ovarian cancer is the least survivable women’s cancer – just 4 in 10 survive five years past their diagnosis, compared to 9 in 10 with breast or prostate cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, 40 years ago the survival rate of ovarian and prostate cancer was similar. Now most men live. The difference is research. In fact relative to lethality prostate cancer receives 18 times more research funding than ovarian cancer.
Most people are unable to name any of the symptoms – but until we fund research for better treatments – that knowledge remains the best protection. Ovarian cancer is not detected by a cervical smear but if wahine have symptoms, it can be found with a blood test and ultrasound.
Did you know ovarian cancer kills more wahine than the road toll? Most years the government spends $100 million on efforts to reduce the road toll, and nothing on efforts to reduce death from ovarian cancer. We don’t receive any government funding. Public support is crucial to helping us support wahine with ovarian cancer.
Cure Our Ovarian Cancer NZ is dedicated to improving the survival of wahine affected by ovarian cancer through earlier diagnosis, treatments and research. Our initiatives this year have included sending symptoms posters and medical education to every GP practice in the country, working with Rural Women NZ to educate over 100 000 kiwis at field days, petitioning parliament for better education, treatments and dedicated research and clinical trials funding; and funding research directly.
What’s Happening this September
Nationwide billboard campaign
Watch out for An ad you can’t miss. For the cancer you do. Featuring real kiwi women with ovarian cancer. It’s been generously donated specifically to help raise the profile of ovarian cancer.
You’ll find our eye catching billboard in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, New Plymouth, Gisborne, Napier, Levin, Kapiti Coast, Wellington, Nelson Christchurch and Dunedin.
Step Up for September
This virtual fundraiser is our biggest fundraising event of the year. Anyone can participate. All you need to do is be active, fundraise and raise awareness! You can sign up anytime during September.
Visit our Step Up Campaign to learn more.
Ovarian cancer isn’t cancelled
Your action helps save lives. We urgently need your help to close the survival gap. Whether it’s your ovary, breast or prostate that gets cancer – the difference should not be your life. Wahine need you to donate, fundraise and share the symptoms.