Cyclists raise awareness of ovarian cancer

Posted on in Fundraising, Hospitals

Seven cyclists stopped off at The James Cook University Hospital as part of a 240 mile ride from Whitehaven to Gateshead for ovarian cancer research.

Cyclists line up at James Cook

James Cook was one of 11 cancer treatment hospitals in the north to provide a pit stop for the fundraisers and their ovarian cancer awareness road show.

The Emma Gyles Bursary Ride was organised by Professor Richard Edmondson, professor of gynaecological oncology at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research in Newcastle and Ken Gyles, father of Emma Gyles who died in 2008, aged just 24, of ovarian cancer.

The bursary was set up in Emma’s memory to help fund research into ovarian cancer. Its aim is to raise £10,000 a year to fund a full-time medical student.

Jane McNeil, lead nurse for gynaecological oncology welcomed the cyclists to James Cook. She said: “Although ovarian cancer is commonly called a silent killer symptoms to look out for include: persistent pelvic or abdominal pain, increased abdominal size/persistent bloating, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary symptoms. In most cases these symptoms are only serious if they are frequent, persistent and new.”

Locally, there are more than 200 cases of ovarian cancer diagnosed each year in the North of England Cancer Network. Patients are treated surgically at the Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre inGatesheadand at James Cook and can then receive chemotherapy in a number of hospitals throughout the region.

The North of England Cancer Network has one of the best survival rates in the country (data from National Cancer Intelligence Network) but there is still much work to do.

Treatment is getting better with improvements in surgery and the development of new chemotherapy drugs, including a new type of drug called a PARP inhibitor which was developed inNewcastle. This is now showing promising results in clinical trials.

Prof Edmondson said: “I’d like to thank all of those people who helped make the ride such a success and to those who donated. We raised over £3,000 but perhaps more importantly we managed to raise awareness of ovarian cancer throughout the region and also let people know what we are doing to try and combat the disease.

“The ride was great fun but I’m not sure that the Wiggins’ sideburns I grew for the event helped me to go any quicker!”