Ovarian cancer – Are you aware of the symptoms

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 Ovarian cancer – Are you aware of the symptoms