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NZ Billboard In Piccadilly Circus And Times Square Draws Attention To Underfunding Of Ovarian Cancer

An international campaign featuring New Zealanders to raise awareness of ovarian cancer will appear on billboards in Piccadilly Circus and Times Square today. With the tagline “An ad you can’t miss, for a cancer you do” marks World Ovarian Cancer Day, 8 May.

The campaign creative, donated by Creative and Digital agency Topham Guerin, and organised by New Zealander Jane Ludemann features more than thirty real women (including four New Zealanders), all diagnosed with a variant of ovarian cancer called low grade serous (LGS.

Jane, who is among the group said that low grade doesn’t imply good outcomes.

“These women are frequently young, and fewer than half will be alive nine years after diagnosis. It’s a difficult reality to be faced with. But instead of living their lives in fear – the women are speaking out in the hope their efforts will help more people survive.”

Aucklander Erin Bassett took over a year to be diagnosed with LGS ovarian cancer in May 2020. She was 35 years old. Initially her symptoms were put down to irritable bowel syndrome and despite significant pain she was told she needed to eat more All Bran. She participated in the billboard campaign because she wants people to know “to trust yourself and trust your instincts and keep going with those second opinions and not be embarrassed.”

Dunedin woman Jane, founded global charity Cure Our Ovarian Cancer (COOC), and local arm Ovarian Cancer New Zealand after her diagnosis with LGS ovarian cancer at 32 years old. She says “our message is simple. We want women of all ages to be aware of the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer which can easily be missed and dismissed. And we want research so women with ovarian cancer live longer.”

“It speaks to the urgency of the situation that women with LGS cancer have gone to such extremes to be heard. But in New Zealand all women with ovarian cancer are struggling. The government hasn’t funded any ovarian cancer research in over four years and our overall ovarian cancer survival lags behind Australia.”

Jane hopes that the campaigns efforts will draw attention, not only to LGS ovarian cancer globally, but to the dire straits of all ovarian cancer in New Zealand. The New Zealanders participated in the hope of raising donations for Ovarian Cancer New Zealand (ovariancancer.org.nz) to support awareness, advocacy and research.

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