A horrible disease which claims the lives of too many women.
Ovarian cancer gets a bad wrap - rightly so.
The fourth biggest cancer killer in women, 7000 are diagnosed with it across the UK every single year, and over half of them - around 4000 - will die.
In 2011, Sharon Graham - wife of Labour councillor for Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss, David Graham - was diagnosed with the disease. After beating it in April 2012, the family was devasted when it returned just three months later.
After months of working tirelessly to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in local and national media, Sharon passed away in February 2014.
And now, Councillor Graham is picking up where she left off, raising a motion at the full meeting of Fife Council last Thursday to urge them, and the Scottish and UK Governments to do more to raise awareness of the disease ahead of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March.
“As a promise to Sharon I committed to continuing her work to the best of my ability,” he said, “in firstly campaigning for awareness through the media to inform as many people as possible about the symptoms and what to watch out for, and secondly to campaign to improve the knowledge of medical professionals about what they should be looking for to improve the time which it takes to get to diagnosis which shall in turn improve survival rates.”
His motion received unequivocal support from fellow councillors, and commenting after the meeting he said: “I am delighted that my motion received unanimous cross party support today and thank all councillors in Fife for their support.
“Too many women die of this horrible disease every year.
“This is caused by the massive lack of awareness from throughout the wider community.
“I urge the local community and GPs to take up the opportunities which are out there and available to them to make themselves more aware of the symptoms.”
Cllr Graham is supported in his campaign by Target Ovarian Cancer, which provides support to those diagnosed, and conducts research into the discovery of new life extending treatments and improve the quality of life for women with ovarian cancer
Rebecca Rennison, director of public affairs and services, said: “It’s fantastic that Cllr Graham is raising awareness of ovarian cancer. Sharon, his wife, was a tireless campaigner and throughout her lifetime strove to raise awareness, and we’re incredibly grateful that Cllr Graham is continuing the work that she put in motion.
“March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re asking women to make sure they are aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. There is currently no screening programme for ovarian cancer, which is why it’s so important for women and GPs to know the symptoms.”
Cllr Graham added: “We need to remember Ovarian Cancer affects everyone, male and female, both the women themselves, but also their husbands and partners, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. For each woman we can help make aware of the symptoms, that’s one less family that risks being torn apart by this disease.”