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Latest figures have revealed that in Ireland the incidence rate of ovarian cancer is 15.6 in every 100,000 people, almost a quarter higher than the average of 12.6 across the rest of the EU. The Irish Cancer Society teamed up with Ovacare, SOCK, the Emer Casey Foundation, Trinity College Dublin and a number of other organisations, using World Ovarian Cancer Day earlier this week (8 May) to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms among Irish women.

Naomi Fitzgibbon, from the Irish Cancer Society said: “In Ireland, on average, about 340 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year and there are about 272 deaths. She claimed that survival rates are slowly on the increase, at a rate of about 3 per cent over 15 years, as a result of treatment plans and support access improving all of the time.

Ms Fitzgibbon highlighted the importance of knowing the BEAT symptoms, as ovarian cancer is often associated with silent symptoms. She said: “I would urge women to listen carefully to their bodies and if they notice any changes at all to go see their GP and talk through their concerns”. BEAT represents: Bloating that is persistent, Eating less and feeling full more quickly, Abdominal and pelvic pain, Talk to your GP.

Dr. Sharon O’Toole, Senior Research Fellow in St. James’s Hospital and Chair of Ovacare’s Medical Panel added: “The statistics related to this cancer make for sober reading, with just over 30 per cent of women surviving for five years or longer. Early detection is vital in ovarian cancer and the vague symptoms certainly present challenges. But there are symptoms, and we need to listen very carefully to them”.