by Louise Bayne, Chief Executive, Ovacome: the ovarian cancer support network
The middle-aged woman with abdominal symptoms such as bloating, discomfort or gastric disturbance is an everyday visitor to community pharmacies.
She has ovarian cancer, but doesn’t know it yet. She’s visited primary care many times, but has received a misdiagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome or recurrent UTI, and has decided to self-medicate with treatments bought from pharmacies.
How can you help her? Read more »
by Justine Fox, Volunteer at Ovacome, National Ovarian Cancer Charity
I was diagnosed with Stage 3(c) ovarian cancer (stage 4 is most advanced) in October 2006, aged 35. I had surgery and chemotherapy and am very fortunate to have been in remission since May 2007. My symptoms actually began 5 years prior to my diagnosis.
In 2001 I noticed abdominal bloating and a change in bowel habit (I was rarely ‘normal’). I thought this was due to diet and so began to cut certain foods out; unfortunately nothing changed.
In 2003 I developed pain and tenderness on the right side of my lower abdomen. My GP did a stool test and I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). My GP felt this tied in with the bloating and bowel problems.
For 3 more years the bloating and discomfort increased. I regularly visited my GP receiving numerous prescriptions for anti-spasmodic medication without tests.
Further symptoms developed in July 2006. I couldn’t eat more than a few mouthfuls of food before feeling full. I began losing weight generally whilst my abdomen began to swell. I was initially excited about this as I thought I was pregnant – sadly there was no baby (I had 9l of fluid in my abdomen!). Read more »