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Wolverhampton among worst areas for spotting ovarian cancer

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | Health | Published:

Wolverhampton is one of the worst areas of the country for early ovarian cancer diagnosis rates, new figures have revealed.

Only a third of women are diagnosed early

Analysis of data from health groups across the UK showed women face a postcode lottery when it comes to catching ovarian cancer, often branded the silent killer, early, with women twice as likely to receive a diagnosis in some areas.

And Wolverhampton was ranked sixth with almost three quarters of women - 73 per cent - diagnosed late, at stage three or four.

The disease kills almost 90 per cent of women who are told their cancer is stage four, according to latest figures. Survival rates are much higher when the illness has caught early and the cancer has not spread.

Ovarian cancer is difficult to spot due to unclear early symptoms and campaigners have warned many women are not diagnosed despite multiple visits to their GP.

Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was among the top 25 with 68 per cent diagnosed late.

Wolverhampton CCG said it "continues to work with our partners across the local health and Black Country economy to improve access to screening and diagnosis for all types of cancer".

Dudley CCG said it was "committed" to improving diagnosis rates and encourage anyone concerned by symptoms to see their GP as soon as possible.

The data showed that most CCGs were failing to diagnose at least half of women early. However, the four best performing health groups, all in London, diagnoses between 61 and 62 per cent early, at stage one or two.

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At Stafford and Surrounds CCG 66 per cent were diagnosed at either stage three of four, while at Cannock Chase and Walsall CCGs it was 65 per cent.

Just over half of women - 56 per cent - were diagnosed late at Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.

Annwen Jones, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: "There are differences in ovarian cancer early stage diagnosis across England.

"This can be due to a range of factors including how promptly women go to their GP and are referred for tests and how long it takes to carry these out.

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"In some areas there is also a lot of data missing, meaning we can't be sure what the actual level of early diagnoses is.

"We would like this to be further explored so that we can end these variations in early diagnosis."

On average, only 33 per cent of women between 2015 and 2017 were diagnosed at stages one or two, when the cancer is most treatable and chances of long-term survival are highest.

The Government has set a target that 75 per cent of all cancers should be diagnosed at an early stage by 2028.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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