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Women less aware of ovarian cancer

Women are receiving more information on cervical cancer than ovarian cancer, according to a survey.

Some 66% of women said they had been told about cervical cancer, while just 33% had been given information on ovarian cancer, a survey of more than 1,000 women found.

Nearly one in three (29%) said they thought a smear test would detect ovarian cancer, with just 4% confident they could spot the symptoms of the condition themselves.

Meanwhile many women thought ovarian cancer was less common than cervical cancer.

Of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, more than half (56%) did not know anything about the disease beforehand.

Many women with the disease say their GP failed to spot it initially, with the most common diagnoses being irritable bowel syndrome and urinary tract infection.

The survey comes as the charity and BMJ Learning launch an online tool to help GPs diagnose ovarian cancer.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Where GPs think that there are symptoms that require investigation, they will be able to refer for the appropriate tests to be carried out within one week.

"Our aim is to start rolling this out from 2011-12 over a five-year period, starting in the first two years with ovarian, lung and colorectal cancer - with an expectation that people would know within two weeks whether or not they had cancer."

Target Ovarian Cancer