Healthcare: On the agenda - NICE backs ovarian cancer blood test

In a nutshell

Doctors are being urged to carry out blood tests at an earlier stage on women suspected of having ovarian cancer. In its first clinical guideline on the disease, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has called for more initial investigations to take place in primary care settings, such as GP surgeries, in an effort to improve survival rates.

Why is it important?

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women, with around 6,800 women being diagnosed every year in the UK. Of these, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) will not live beyond five years after diagnosis. Chemotherapy and surgery can be effective treatments, but women could have a greater chance of surviving the disease if it is identified earlier on.

PR strategy

The NICE in-house press office team handled the PR for the story, inviting media to an embargoed press conference. Following the press conference, NICE issued a press release to the media and offered further opportunities for interviews.

Media coverage

The story was covered extensively in the UK broadcast, print and online media. On Wednesday 27 April, the story was mentioned on BBC Breakfast, ITV Daybreak and BBC Radio 5 Live. In print, the story made page 2 of The Guardian under the headline 'GPs told to offer test for ovarian cancer'. The story also ran in the Daily Mail, The Independent and The Daily Telegraph.

£20: Average price of a blood test

6,800: Average number of women in the UK diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year

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