World Ovarian Cancer Day is May 8th – Don’t Ignore The Signs (Including Free Webinar)

On World Ovarian Cancer Day and in the midst of a global pandemic, Ireland’s foremost Ovarian Cancer Campaigners, Researchers and Patient Advocates are advising women across Ireland not to ignore the warning signs of Ovarian Cancer, a disease commonly known as the ‘silent killer’.

Ovarian cancer is the 4th leading cause of female cancer deaths in Ireland. Over 400 women are diagnosed annually with 290 women losing their lives due to the disease. Ireland ranks among the highest in the world in terms of mortality from ovarian cancer with 5-year survival rates at 36% (National Cancer Registry Ireland Annual Report 2020)

Early diagnosis and treatment are vital and Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist and Chair of the National Cancer Control Programme National Clinical Leads for Surgical Gynaecology Oncology, Dr. Michael O’Leary is advising that –

“Even in the midst of this pandemic, when health services are being severely tested, women should continue to listen to their bodies and consult with their GP if they have persistent bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain; changes in urination, bowel or eating habits including eating less and/or feeling full more quickly.  Symptoms of ovarian cancer can often be confused with other conditions such as IBS.  This is why it is important to seek help if you notice persistent changes.  Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer should be particularly vigilant. Talk to your GP, describe new symptoms which are not going away and mention any family history. GPs are there to help you and are not too busy to give you advice.”

The BEAT Ovarian Cancer Campaign focuses on knowing your body, knowing the signs and getting help at an early stage if you have any of the following for three weeks or more:

  • Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go
  • Eating less and feeling full more quickly
  • Abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days
  • Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits

Serena O’Connell was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017 at the age of 34 and was subsequently diagnosed with the BRCA1 gene mutation. Serena has a very positive outlook and would say that “Cancer is not the death sentence it used to be, there is always hope”. She would encourage women to know their family history as it has had implications for her wider family.

World Ovarian Cancer Day is a global movement bringing women living with ovarian cancer, their families and supporters, patient advocacy organisations, medical practitioners and researchers together each year on the 8th May to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

To mark World Ovarian Cancer Day, the following buildings have generously agreed to participate in our #TEALights campaign on 8th May by lighting up in teal, the colour associated all over the world with the fight against ovarian cancer – Áras Chontae an Chláir – Clare County Council; Bunratty Castle, Co. Clare; City Hall, Cork; Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin; Cork County Hall, Crann Centre, Cork; East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway;  Heuston Station, Dublin; Iveagh House Dublin (Department of Foreign Affairs); Kilkenny Castle; Mansion House, Dublin; Mater Hospital, Dublin; National Concert Hall, Dublin; National University of Ireland, Galway; Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin; Purple House Cancer Support, Wicklow; Rock of Cashel, Tipperary; St. John’s Castle, Limerick; The Convention Centre Dublin, Titanic Belfast and University College Cork.

We are also encouraging everyone to get involved in the #TEALights social media campaign from home. By lighting a tea light, patients, survivors, families and supporters will feel the solidarity of the Irish ovarian cancer community on that day.  The groups involved in Ireland include; ARC Cancer Support Centres, Dublin,  Breakthrough Cancer Research, Cancer Care West, Cancer Trials Ireland, CERVIVA, Circle of Friends Cancer Support Centre, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork ARC Cancer Support, Cork Cancer Care Centre, East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Emer Casey Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology, Karen Fenton Ovarian Cancer Fund, Lynch Syndrome Ireland, Marie Keating Foundation, Mater Hospital Dublin, National Cancer Control Programme, National Immunisation Office, National Women’s Council of Ireland, OvaCare, Purple House Cancer Support, Sláinte an Chláir, SOCK, St. James’s Hospital Foundation (GynaeCancerCare), Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group.

While there have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of other cancers, ovarian cancer is just entering a new era of treatment with poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors being the most promising drugs that have entered the clinic. PARP inhibitors are having a significant impact as a maintenance treatment on disease free intervals and are more beneficial in patients with a BRCA mutation. Other patient cohorts may benefit also and identifying these will be important for research going forward. On world ovarian cancer day the organisers will host a free webinar on “Ovarian cancer; PARP inhibitors and beyond” given by Dr Dearbhaile Collins. You can register for this free event on

For further information on this initiative contact: Sharon O’Toole [email protected]

For more information on World Ovarian Cancer Day visit:

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