Peter Grant MP and Cllr David Graham have joined forces for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to show their support for women with ovarian cancer and to raise awareness of its symptoms.
This is a personally important month and campaign for Cllr Graham who sadly lost his wife, Sharon, to the disease five years ago. Cllr Graham promised his wife that he would continue to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer in her memory.
Mr Grant and Cllr Graham want to make people aware of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, and urge all women who show any of the signs to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Data from Target Ovarian Cancer shows that over 600 women in Scotland are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer every year, and just one in five women can name bloating as one of the key symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
• Persistent bloating- not bloating that comes and goes
• Feeling full or loss of appetite
• Tummy pain
• Needing to wee more often or more urgently
Commenting, Peter Grant MP said:
“I’d like to thank my colleague – Sharon Hodgson MP – who hosted a photo drop-in this week in parliament to mark Ovarian Cancer Month. While this does provide some light relief during busy weeks, the important message behind this campaign cannot be lost.
“Like most people I had hardly even heard of ovarian cancer until I heard about Sharon. Sadly I never got the chance to meet her but everyone who knew her has described her as a generous and loving young woman who had so much to live for, yet by the time her cancer was diagnosed she had such a cruelly short time left with those who loved her. At one of the last meetings I attended as a Fife Councillor, David spoke with enormous courage about his last few weeks with Sharon, and about the number of families who could be spared the same heartache if the illness is diagnosed earlier. I don’t think anyone who was there that day will ever forget it.
“Figures show that over 350 women in Scotland die from Ovarian Cancer every year. This is a terrifying statistic and most women say they did notice symptoms prior to their diagnosis.
“Unfortunately, only 32% of women in Scotland are diagnosed with Stage 1, when survival is the highest. I would urge all women to get check immediately if they show any of the signs of Ovarian Cancer.”
Cllr David Graham added:
“The loss of my wife Sharon in 2014 was devastating for our family. However, Sharon fought a very dignified and positive battle against the disease refusing to give up and meanwhile running various events and raising thousands of pounds for charity.
"Figures show that we are still losing too many women to this horrible disease every year. Too many women are also under the impression that the smear test covers your ovaries but unfortunately it doesn’t. The smear test is very important and I would urge all women to get tested regularly but also to be aware of any changes in your body which may point towards Ovarian Cancer.
"The success rate in treatment of the disease is high if diagnosed early enough. Unfortunately not enough ladies are diagnosed early enough and success rates are very different the longer the disease goes undiagnosed therefore being aware of your body and getting checked is really imperative.
"Sharon was more than just my wife, she was a mum to our two boys, a daughter, a sister, a dear friend and inspiration to so many. Sharon lives on in all our memories and as I promised her I will always continue to raise awareness of this horrible disease to hopefully avoid other families having to go through the devastation that our family felt at Sharon’s loss.
"Ovarian Cancer Awareness month is so important and is an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the condition in both the health sector and in the public eye. The awareness month gave me the opportunity to raise the issue at Full Council where I was so proud that the motion received cross party support at the time.
"I know we all live busy lives but I urge anyone who has the symptoms to please go and consult your GP it could be the decision which ultimately saves your life as nothing prepares you or your family for the journey which follows if you don’t.”