'Help stop women from dying' - Ovarian cancer sufferer calls for more funding to treat disease

The Government’s pre-budget promise of a multi-million dollar injection into breast and cervical cancer screening has prompted calls for more funding to treat more cancers. 

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Jane Ludeman struggled through two years of doctors saying she was sick, only to end up needing emergency surgery. Source: Breakfast

Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in New Zealand woman but many women struggle to get an accurate diagnosis before it’s too late to treat. 

Jane Ludemann spent two years dealing with doctors who struggled to identify what was wrong with her, only for her to end up needing emergency surgery for ovarian cancer, aged 32.

“It wasn’t until one day it got so bad I ended up in hospital … I just thought I’m such a hypochondriac. Everyone is saying there’s nothing the matter,” she told Breakfast. 

By the time her cancer was found, it had just spread leading to her being given a diagnosis of five to 15 years left to live.

“If I had breast cancer, my doctors would’ve said I’d probably be okay but it’s ovarian cancer which hasn’t had the research into treatments,” she said.  

“I’m 36 now and I’m glad that I’ve had this time but you want so much more time than that."

There’s no way to screen for ovarian cancer like you can with breast or cervical cancers but there’s a combination of blood tests and ultrasounds which provide an accurate way to test. 

Ludemann has presented a petition to Parliament asking for further funding and for research into ovarian cancer.

"We presented [the petition] early March and we've been told it will go to a Select Committee and we haven't heard anything back yet.

"And that's hard because in this time about 20 women have passed away since we've been waiting."

Yesterday, the Government announced a $55.6 million funding boost for breast cancer screening.