Home » Sam Rowlands MS highlights ‘Claire’s Campaign’ launched to give platform to ‘unheard’ women with gynaecological cancer
Charity National News News

Sam Rowlands MS highlights ‘Claire’s Campaign’ launched to give platform to ‘unheard’ women with gynaecological cancer

SAM Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales supports the launch of ‘Claire’s Campaign’ inassociation with cancer campaigner, Claire O’Shea, and Tenovus Cancer Care.

The campaign aims to amplify the voices of women who have felt ignored by and let down by the system, leading to misdiagnosis, inadequate care, and tragic outcomes.   

In Wales, around 1,200 people are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer every year and 470 people die. Only 32.2% of cases meet the suspected cancer pathway targets, despite cancer and women’s health being a Welsh Government priority. 

The launch comes as MSs debated the findings of the Senedd’s Health and Social Committee’s landmark report, Unheard: Women’s Journey Through Gynaecological Cancer.  

Speaking in the Senedd, Mr Rowlands, Shadow Health Minister said:

“I’m hopeful that the report and its contents will have a positive impact on the way in which gynaecological cancer is addressed in Wales. It struck me that the first word in that title is the word ‘unheard’ and people need to be listened to, and when people present with symptoms—not vague symptoms, but clear symptoms, symptoms that need to be spoken of properly—people are listened to.

“We have heard the word ‘gaslighting’,  with people being told to doubt what it is that they’re feeling. That needs to be removed completely from people’s experience when they visit their GPs or other health professionals.

“The other side of listening, is the listening from Welsh Government, We’re sick and tired of a tone-deaf response and I really hope that the Cabinet Secretary, is not just hearing but listening, to the words that are being said.

“I would just like to focus on a couple of the recommendations. The first one that struck me was recommendation 4, which was outright rejected, This asked Welsh Government to work with health boards to ensure that an assessment is made of gynaecological cancer related services lost during the pandemic and ensure that those services are reinstated quickly.

“The number of people who are diagnosed with gynaecological cancers, and, sadly, around 470 of those are dying in Wales each year. Dr Louise Hanna of the Wales Cancer Network, called for immediate action on this survey to know what services were lost due to COVID and to reinstate those immediately.

online casinos UK

The second recommendation, number 12, was the one that wants Welsh Government to work with different groups, including Public Health Wales, on a series of campaigns to raise awareness about the symptoms of gynaecological cancer.

“This was accepted in part, but there are concerns that previous campaigns haven’t been as effective as they should have been. It is a fairly straightforward recommendation that would make a huge difference to the lives of women up and down Wales, and I’m baffled as to why Welsh Government didn’t feel that they could accept that recommendation because we know that raising awareness is half the battle for illnesses like this.

“Effective campaigns mean that more people are aware of potential symptoms and can, crucially, get checked out before the cancer becomes too pervasive. This is a relatively straightforward way to help save lives, and a relatively low-cost way of helping to save those lives as well.”

 The recommendations were drafted after three women, including Claire, bravely shared their powerful testimonies to cross-party committee members as part of their inquiry into gynaecological cancer last year.  All three women said they had felt unheard at various points along the cancer pathway. 

Eighteen of the 26 inquiry report recommendations were accepted by the Welsh Government in its response in March. ‘Claire’s Campaign’ calls for all the recommendations to be implemented as a priority by Welsh Government. 

If you have an experience to share or want to support the campaign, visit: https://clairescampaign.cymru/.