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Raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer

Retired nurse Allyson Kent is helping to put Ovarian Cancer in the spotlight this March – Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – to help speed up early diagnosis and stop ovarian cancer devastating lives.

Allyson, from Lund, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2020 after suffering with severe stomach pains and bloating.

She began walking as a way to get fit for surgery and to give her a focus away from the diagnosis.
In 2021, she walked a marathon every week to raise awareness of the condition and raise funds for ovarian cancer charity Ovacome, which has supported her.

Now Allyson is promoting the benefits of exercise to other cancer patients and their families by becoming an ambassador for 5k Your Way Move Against Cancer.

The acronym BEAT is an easy way to remember the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
● B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go.
● E is for eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly.
● A is for abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days.
● T is for toilet changes in urination or bowel habits.
If you notice any of these and they are unusual for you, please see your GP.

As part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Allyson is walking 111 miles in March to raise awareness of the condition, encourage others to get out walking and raise money to support those diagnosed with the disease.

Allyson, who has just completed chemotherapy after a reoccurrence of her ovarian cancer, told the Wolds Weekly that she hopes by spreading awareness of the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, that more women can get an earlier diagnosis and start treatment to help save their lives.

“Two thirds of women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer too late when the cancer is harder to treat and every day in the UK, 11 women die,” she said.

“This is why it is so important to raise awareness of the symptoms to be aware of.”

Allyson said she also wants to promote the physical and mental health benefits of exercise to help anyone going through a cancer diagnosis.

Last year she became an ambassador of 5k Your Way, which is a community-based initiative to encourage those living with and beyond cancer to walk, jog, run, cheer or volunteer at the 5K which takes place at the Beverley Westwood Parkrun on the last Saturday of every month.

She said: “5K Your Way is it is about getting people together to get some exercise and doing the Parkrun in your way.

“It is for all ages and abilities and it doesn’t matter if you can’t run, when I first started I walked and the fantastic volunteers at Beverley Parkrun are so supportive and encourage you all the way.

“On New Year’s Day I managed to run my first Parkrun and now I’ve got the bug and recently completed my 25th.

“I never would have imagined running a Parkrun but getting more exercise is good for your physical and mental health and can help with side effects to treatment.

“It is also about the social benefits of meeting up with like-minded people and supporting each other.

“I am still walking every day because I really notice the benefits and in March I am walking 111 miles – the 11 is for the 11 people who die every day from Ovarian Cancer.”

A new survey by Target Ovarian Cancer shows that over half (55 per cent) of women in the UK would make a change to their eating habits if they experienced persistent bloating that doesn’t go away, whereas only one in three (34 per cent) would contact their GP.

Annwen Jones OBE, chief executive of Target Ovarian Cancer, said: “These findings are extremely concerning, and provide further evidence that there remains an awareness crisis in ovarian cancer.

“Target Ovarian Cancer won’t accept that 11 women die every day from Ovarian Cancer in the UK. Not when survival rates in other countries are so much higher. And not when we can do something about it right now.

“We know that early diagnosis increases the chances of survival and knowing the symptoms is vital to achieving this.

“This is why we continue to demand that the UK governments invest in awareness campaigns so that everyone knows the potential significance of persistent bloating – alongside abdominal pain, feeling full quickly and needing to wee more often – and seeks the appropriate medical advice.”

To find out more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, visit https://targetovariancancer.org.uk/ovarian-cancer-awareness-month.

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