Survivors Teaching Students is a practical and innovative volunteer project in which women with ovarian cancer educate clinical students and work towards ending the problem of late diagnosis. 

We have now reached 2,500 medical, nursing and other clinical students and our feedback shows that STS can improve their knowledge of ovarian cancer signs and symptoms, risk factors and referral guidelines by 50 per cent. 

The project aims to ensure that the students remember the presenters and their stories, so that when they qualify and meet women with similar symptoms they will recall the volunteers’ stories and consider ovarian cancer much earlier in the process of diagnosis.   

STS started in 2014 and since then we have presented more than 60 sessions; more sessions are coming up in the next academic year.  STS depends on our volunteer presenters who are prepared to share their stories, answer frank questions and chat openly with students. 

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Survivors Teaching Students Online

Ovacome is planning to take the STS project online so that we can continue to educate clinical students while universities suspend face to face teaching because of COVID restrictions.

We have already made our first film which introduces the project and outlines the issues of late diagnosis and the importance of knowing ovarian cancer signs and symptoms.  It features STS volunteer and Ovacome member Sue telling her powerful story.

We hope the film will be used as part of medical and nursing school teaching – as the STS programme is – and lead on to an interactive webinar where students can ask questions and hear from more volunteer presenters – as they do in our usual sessions.

Going online presents exciting new possibilities.  It will make STS accessible to medical and nursing schools across the country and mean that volunteer presenters can take part wherever they live. 

But first we need to raise the money to meet the costs of these new resources – and the staff time to make it happen. On Saturday 3 October, the Touch of Teal Virtual Gala will be taking place to raise vital funds for our Survivors Teaching Students project. The event will include live music, a fashion show in which all models are people living with ovarian cancer, and lots of other fun activities. Find out how you and your family can take part:

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If you're interested in becoming a Survivors Teaching Students volunteer and sharing your story to raise awareness among doctors and nurses, get in touch with Ruth at [email protected] .

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Feedback from students:

"The session made the symptoms far more memorable."

"It is much more effective than a Powerpoint lecture. I will remember it better!"

"It is easy to read about symptoms in a book but to have them described by women in this way will remain with me far more."

"It is something to always consider - women are often shunted towards the gastrointestinal department because of non-specific symptoms. It is important to communicate possibilities with patients."

"It has been very good to hear individual experiences, showing the impact of the disease on a person.  I will also now know to look for support groups to recommend to patients."