Busy women neglecting health

Katherine Taylor of Ovarian Cancer Action
Katherine Taylor of Ovarian Cancer Action

Women are putting their health on hold because they are too busy with work and family committments.

New research shows more than a quarter of women (25.3 per cent) say they prioritise work over going to see a doctor, and more than a third (38 per cent) say looking after their family takes precedence.

One in five of the 2000 participants worried about wasting a doctor’s time and 20 per cent said other patients’ needs were more important than their own.

But now, women are being ignored not to ignore potentially life-threatening conditions.

Katherine Taylor, Chief Executive of charity Ovarian Cancer Action which commissioned the research said: “The reluctance for women to seek help and speak up about health issues is really worrying but it’s not hard to understand.

“From being too busy or feeling too shy, to prioritising the needs of our families or our jobs – every woman is different and there are myriad reasons that health issues may not take precedence in the busy lives we lead.

“However, in diseases like ovarian cancer – in which symptoms can be vague and diagnosis is tricky – we, as women, need to listen to our bodies, keep a close eye on our health and be persistent with doctors if we think something is wrong.”

To coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March, the charity has launched a new campaign, ‘Speak Up, Listen Up!’

The aim of the campaign is to explore complexities around diagnosing ovarian cancer, to encourage women to listen to their bodies and speak up about their health, and to encourage doctors to ‘think ovarian cancer’.

When asked to identify a symptom of ovarian cancer, more than a third said they couldn’t and almost one in 10 said there are none.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer include persistent bloating, needing to pee more often, persistent tummy pain and feeling full more quickly.

Women experiencing symptoms should keep a diary of symptoms to take with their doctor as this will help with a diagnosis.