THOUSANDS of women each year die from 'the silent killer' and more awareness needs to be raised, an Assembly Member has said.

Hannah Blythyn, AM for Delyn, has spoken out about ovarian cancer and has pledged to raise awareness of the early symptoms which catch thousands of women out.

March marks Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, which is the fifth most common cancer in women and in the UK alone about 7,300 women are diagnosed with the disease every year.

Ms Blythyn said: "It's really important to me to use my platform to voice issues, both personal and political priorities.

"Raising awareness of ovarian cancer is a main one of mine.

"The best way of tackling it early is being more aware of the symptoms. What every charity says is you need to educate people on the symptoms."

The Assembly Member's mum, Laraine - who lives in Connah's Quay - was diagnosed with ovarian cancer several years ago and Ms Blythyn told the Leader she saw how it impacted not just her mum, but the whole family.

She added: "Mum had ovarian cancer and breast cancer a few years ago and the staff at Wrexham Maelor were excellent.

"When anyone has cancer it does impact on the family, chemo is quite aggressive treatment so it was us sharing that experience with her.

"Lucky my then employer was sympathetic and let me have time off to spend with my mum. My mum is still alive and kicking fortunately.

"At my wedding I did a speech and spoke about my mum being an inspiration, she survived a serious illness more than once and taught me how to fight.

"Raising awareness of symptoms is key. It used to be known as the silent killer and it's not just women who should be aware of the symptoms, it's GPs as well."

Every year, the Assembly Member, who was elected in 2016, sponsors an event at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff to mark ovarian cancer awareness month.

This consists of a two hour session where people can speak to charities and find out what help is out there and seek support.

There is often the perception that a smear test will detect ovarian cancer, about one in five women think this to be the case, however, a smear test is there to detect abnormal cells in the cervix.

Ms Blythyn said: "Smear tests don't detect ovarian cancer so it's ideal to know the main symptoms.

"These can include bloating, pains in the stomach, needing to go toilet a lot more, struggling to eat and feeling full quickly - some symptoms can be connected to other things so people need to be more aware and be confident to go to their GP."

Ovarian cancer is not a common disease so although it is likely the symptoms could be something else, the Ovarian Cancer Action charity say it is important to be seen by your GP.

There is currently no national screening programme for the disease so it is vital to know the symptoms and get to know your own body so when something is not right, it can be checked and treated right away.

The Delyn AM has previously told the Leader that the best way to beat cancer is to be aware of the facts, aware of the symptoms and aware of your own family history.

In her column she said: "Many of us here have a family member, a friend or will know somebody who has been affected by ovarian cancer.

"The fact that one woman dies every two hours from the disease testifies to the need to tackle this, to raise awareness and to bust the myths around."

In June 2018, Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has announced that ovarian cancer drug niraparib (Zejula®) will be routinely available on the Welsh NHS.

The Leader has previously reported that Ms Blythyn was joined by cancer survivor Hazel Lynes at the National Assembly for Wales to call for more support for women affected by the illness.

Ms Lynes was diagnosed in 2011 who was convinced she was suffering from appendicitis. Despite survival rates being as low as 30 per cent, she was one of the lucky ones and beat the disease and now campaigns across Wales to raise more awareness of the issue.

A fundraising event will be held by Hannah Blythyn for North West Cancer Research. The charity dinner will be held on Friday, May 10 at the Springfield Hotel, Holywell. For more inromation, Ms Blythyn can be contacted via email at