Zahra and Dee side by side
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Posted by Target Ovarian Cancer on Tuesday 13 November 2018

Dr Zahra Faraahi’s mum Farzaneh died from ovarian cancer while Zahra was working on research to personalise treatments for women with the disease. For Zahra, research was more than just a job. She was taking action to improve ovarian cancer treatments for thousands of women – women like Dee, who was diagnosed in 2016. Both women know first-hand how important it is to have access to the latest ovarian cancer drugs. Women with ovarian cancer deserve better. A gift in your Will could help.

Dee had never heard of ovarian cancer until she was diagnosed in 2016. “That’s probably why, when I noticed I had a lump in my left-hand side, I didn’t think anything of it. Eventually, it began to give me a little bit of pain, so I went to my doctor. When she called me in after running some tests, I said to her, ‘be honest with me, is it cancer?’ She told me she was pretty sure it was.”

When it came to considering options for treatment, Dee was disappointed to hear that there was really only one – major surgery followed by chemotherapy. After the chemotherapy, she was offered Avastin, a newer and more personalised treatment. “For me, the drug could help me avoid a recurrence – something that is common in ovarian cancer. I believe more drugs like this should be available for everybody.”

Ovarian cancer’s share of all UK research funding has dropped by half. Without a serious boost, women will continue to face ovarian cancer without treatment options.

Losing her mum to the disease has reinforced Zahra’s belief that women with ovarian cancer deserve better. “In the end in my mum ran out of treatment options. I want to change that for other women. There's so much more room for improvement – that's the real hope. Working on ovarian cancer research made me feel like I was supporting my mum emotionally. I was keeping the hope alive by finding some form of new treatment or early diagnostic test for generations to come.”

Having directly benefited from one of the few newer, more personalised ovarian cancer treatments, Dee agrees that more needs to be done. “It’s so important that there are alternative methods and options for us. They give you that extra hope, that extra chance. I want us all to have better access to treatments, and to have better support.”

We've already committed over £1 million to world-class research but we can't do it alone. Together we can make sure that ovarian cancer gets the attention it needs. It's time to TAKE OVAR.

According to Zahra, cancers like ovarian cancer, which are often diagnosed at a later stage, are the ones that we need to be funding. “Cutting funding doesn't directly affect the person who has cancer, but it is going to affect families and generations to come. We have to be thinking about our children and our children's children. The more we can raise, and the less we cut funding, the more of an investment we make in our children's futures. My ovarian cancer research is my legacy. I want to make a difference in memory of my mum.”

Dee also wants to spread a message of hope. “After going through all this, I’ve got a new zest for life. I consider myself very lucky to have accessed Avastin. Because it's a newer more personalised therapy, it gave me a bit of hope. That’s part of the reason I wanted to get involved in the TAKE OVAR campaign. Women with ovarian cancer deserve better, and I want that for all of us.”

This is our legacy. Will you make it part of yours? Together, we can create a world where no one has to say goodbye too soon to someone they love because of ovarian cancer.