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Ovarian Cancer

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of women whose symptoms were initially misdiagnosed by their GP and who went on to develop terminal ovarian cancer since 2005. (322223)

This information is not collected centrally. The Office for National Statistics is responsible for compiling and publishing mortality data, but the information concerning misdiagnosis does not form part of that work.

From a recent independent study on the awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, we know that awareness of ovarian cancer is low. Through the work of the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, we are making the public and health professionals more aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, including ovarian cancer.

On 29 September 2009, the Prime Minister announced plans to offer all patients in England access to tests which can confirm or exclude cancer within one week. Under the new plans, where the general practitioner (GP) thinks that the risk of cancer does not justify a two-week urgent referral to see a specialist, but there are symptoms which require investigation, the GP 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, where people will be able to expect access to the relevant diagnostics and test results within two weeks.