There are many different types of ovarian cancer, including rare borderline ovarian tumours. Here Beth talks about how her doctor’s perseverance may have saved her life and why Target Ovarian Cancer's Being Together day was monumental for her...
People say that when you’ve had a cancer diagnosis, you’re never the same again.
I was diagnosed with a slow-growing form of ovarian cancer. Borderline ovarian tumours (BOTs) usually stay within the ovaries, but they can become full-blown ovarian cancer. It’s a rare form of the disease, so there’s not too many of us about!
The first sign I had that something was wrong was when I started to get a pain in my right-hand side. Initially I thought I had IBS - I even joked with my friends about it - but later I noticed it wasn’t going away with pain relief. At that stage I thought I’d better go to the doctor to ease my mind.
Initially the doctor thought that maybe I had a UTI and gave me antibiotics. He also asked why I hadn’t come to the surgery sooner. He sent me for some blood tests and within 24 hours he rang me back to tell me that my CA125 levels were very high. However, after an ultrasound at the local hospital, I was given the all clear and told not to worry. Fortunately, my GP called me back to tell me he wasn’t convinced. He’s been amazing throughout this whole experience. He was so insistent.
After undergoing a CT scan, I was told I had ‘complex cysts’. I was referred to a consultant gynaecologist and then a surgeon. We agreed to a full hysterectomy if needed. I wanted to get it all done then and there. I’ve got three kids so I consider that I’ve completed my family.
I was in surgery for around six hours. I had a full hysterectomy and appendectomy. They also removed tumours in my lower bowel.
After a four week recovery, I had a meeting with the oncologist. It was quite a bit of a shock because they told me that I had a slow-growing form of ovarian cancer called borderline ovarian tumour.
Hearing that I had cancer was really difficult. I just wanted to have time with my kids - I would have done anything for that.
I think one of the hardest things I’ve had to get my head around is surgical menopause. There’s a lot about hormone replacement therapy in the papers, but there’s not a lot out there to support women with this – you have to go and seek the support out. I’m worried that not a lot of women will go and look for this support.
After my diagnosis I went along to a Target Ovarian Cancer Being Together day. Some of the women there were quite ill, and a lot of them were focused on spending as much time with their families as possible. The whole day was monumental for me. It really made me think about my priorities. I owe it to myself and to these women to do what I can to raise awareness. I just want to do my bit.