Ovarian cancer awareness month – Why I don’t need it but you do

The month of March 2017 is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month; a good time to confess that my relationship with ovarian cancer is dysfunctional. My relationship with all cancer is challenging (due to the untimely deaths of several very dear family members) but ovarian cancer is the demon that I should have dealt with years ago. Our first encounter was in my late twenties and I can remember that day as if it was yesterday.

Ovarian cancer awareness month

A relative of mine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she pregnant; it was spotted at a routine ultrasound scan. She was treated and went into remission. Then it came back and she died of a stroke when she was thirty years old. Cancer patients have a higher chance of having a stroke. I didn’t know that. I do now.

We were not particularly close, not much more than acquaintances, but her death affected me profoundly. I was also a young mother by this time. I attended her funeral a few months after giving birth to my eldest child. I just about managed to watch her two little girls (one carried in her father’s arms because she was too little to walk) drop roses onto her coffin as it was lowered into the ground. You don’t forget a scene like that very easily. I have never forgotten it. I never will.

And so it began. My unhealthy obsession with this disease that kills 11 women every day in the UK.

There have been several occasions when I have managed to convince myself and all those around me that I have ovarian cancer. I have had my friends googling symptoms and ringing me to check them off one by one only to find that I didn’t really have any of them but that was of no comfort to me! I have sobbed in GP surgeries. I have paid for private ultrasound scans because I knew that I simply could not wait the 5 weeks for an NHS appointment and still retain my sanity. So far, this disease has spared me but I will not drop my guard.

I know the list of symptoms and I am watching out for them.

Ovarian cancer awareness month

So, this month is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and I don’t need it but you probably do and so this is for you.

This disease is something that midlife ladies in particular need to be aware of – although as my story illustrates young woman can also be affected. The symptoms are

  • pelvic or abdominal pain
  • increased abdominal size/persistent bloating
  • difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
  • needing to wee more urgently or more often

If you, or a lady you know, suffers from these more than 12 times in a month it needs to be checked out. Other symptoms like unexplained weight loss, change in bowel habits, extreme fatigue and post-menopausal bleeding should also be investigated by a GP.

The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the better a woman’s chances of achieving a positive outcome.

You can find loads more information on Ovarian Cancer Awareness month here and from Target Ovarian Cancer.

Please share with the ladies in your life who need to know this.



  29 comments for “Ovarian cancer awareness month – Why I don’t need it but you do

  1. March 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Some interesting facts here, I never knew that this was linked to stroke, which I suffered ten years ago, I have also had a brain tumour, which was non cancerous, thank goodness

    • Zoe
      March 17, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Karen, all tumours are cancer, even “benign” tumours. Benign just means it won’t Metastasize (spread) to other parts of your body as opposed to malignant, which has the possibility of spreading. I’m almost 7 years post op now. Sending love fellow tumour warrior x
      Zoe recently posted…Dearest Mama To Be My Profile

    • March 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Oh Karen you have had a lot to deal with. Thank you for commenting on my post and for linking up with #TweensTeensBeyond
      Sharon – after the playground recently posted…Phinexi iphone charge case – a reviewMy Profile

  2. March 14, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for this, it’s so informative. I lost both my parents and a handful of aunts and uncles to cancer before I was 18 and whereas my sister, similarly to how you describe has taken it upon herself to know red flag symptoms of different cancers, I’m a bit more head in the sand but information can be a literal lifesaver so I’ll take this on board #TweensTeensBeyond
    Daydreamer Mum recently posted…A Thank You to the women who shaped me on International Women’s Day. …  My Profile

    • March 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you so much. I think it’s best to try and find a middle ground if you can. It’s great to have you at #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. Nige
    March 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    This is a fantastic post very informative. My wife’s mum died from ovarian cancer some 11 years ago and it’s a fantastic campaign to make people more aware thanks for hosting tweensteensandbeyond

    • March 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Nige and I’m so sorry to hear that your family have suffered a loss too. It’s great to have you at #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. March 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    Oh my goodness those stats are just terrifying – I had no idea so can’t thank you enough for sharing such an informative post. I am sorry for your loss and the issues you have had to deal with as a result – I understand where you are coming from but with a totally different disease – I know that worry #TweensTeensBeyond
    justsayingmum recently posted…So What Will Those Teen Years Be Like?My Profile

    • March 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you Helen, I’ll be so glad if it has been of use. I’m sorry that you are dealing with your own anxieties – we all have our demons don’t we. Thanks for joining us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  5. March 14, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I didn’t realize this month was that, but thank you for spreading awareness. That is much more common than I would have guessed. #tweensteensbeyond
    Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy recently posted…Hard Lessons in SportsmanshipMy Profile

  6. March 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    One everyone needs to be aware of #TweenTeenBeyond
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  7. March 15, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s a frightening disease and the more knowledge we have about it, the better. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Midlife Dramas in Pyjamas recently posted…Glam V Grungy!My Profile

  8. March 16, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Thank you Sharon for the reminder, I have added it to my list of things I need to action. Great post. Nicky #TweensTeensBeyond

  9. March 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I lost a friend to ovarian cancer just over a year ago, she was retired and her children grown up but it was still an awful way to go. Cancer is very cruel. I didn’t know you could buy private ultrasound scans, I’m making a mental note of that. Thank you for raising awareness. #TeensTweensBeyond

    • March 17, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Yes you can get scanned at private hospitals but it costs a lot! Thanks so much for commenting and for linking up at #TweensTeensBeyond

  10. March 16, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I can only imagine how horrific seeing that must of been for you. Thank you so much for raising awareness ❤️
    #TweenTeensBeyond

  11. March 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    I could have written this post! I have also convinced doctors to refer me for scans several times as I’m so sure I have ovarian cancer. Any sign of bloatedness and needing the loo even more often than I normally do, and I’ve diagnosed myself again with it. I think for me the scariness of it is that often women can have it and have no symptoms and then it’s often too late. I’m very sorry about your family member, that is truly tragic. Good to raise awareness of this disease #tweensteensbeyond
    Susie / S.H.I.T. recently posted…Cure3 exhibition – art raising money for Parkinson’s DiseaseMy Profile

    • March 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks so much Susie it’s good to know that I am not alone but I’m sorry that you have to suffer with the anxiety too. Thanks so much for commenting and for linking up at #TweensTeensBeyond

  12. March 16, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    One of the wonderful things about blogging is the ability to spread awareness – thank you so much for this post. You read about this cancer from time to time, but it is so important to be reminded. It must be dreadful for you to have that fear hanging over you, as well as those sad memories, but using it effectively to help others is fantastic. Alison x #TweensTeensBeyond
    Alison (MadHouseMum) recently posted…Have you ever?My Profile

  13. Zoe
    March 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    As someone who has had (and still has) a brain tumour, but also had LLETZ twice before I even had children, I, like you am constantly on my guard when it comes to any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I was very lucky to live in Wales and have my first smear at 20 years of age (my first LLETZ was just 3 weeks after my first smear) I doubt I would be here to tell the story if I had lived in England at the time. I remember the Jade Goody Effect like it was yesterday, and hope one day fewer women are killed by this awful disease.
    #TweensTeensBeyond

  14. March 17, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Well it’s good to know that living in Wales can have some advantages – I live in Cardiff! I’m so sorry to hear about what you have had to deal with but I’m so pleased to hear that the LLETZ was successful. Thanks so much for linking up at #TweensTeensBeyond

  15. March 19, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Great blog my friend, thanks very much 🙂

  16. March 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Sadly like many others I do have many cancer stories littering my family but you can never be “too” aware of symptoms to look out for with any type of cancer. I believe they call Ovarian Cancer the silent killer as the symptoms are so typical of many other lifestyle complaints that they can be easily overlooked, especially the bloated, swollen stomach which is I think quite a late stage of the cancer. A very dear friend lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer and I was unaware until her experience that it can also be genetic. Her children are in their teens now and she has recently opted to have her ovaries removed for her peace of mind. Cancer devastates lives and it is sometimes really hard not to think about the “what ifs”. Thanks for sharing this with us Sharon. #TweensTeensBeyond
    Jo (MotherofTeenagers) recently posted…Teaching Our Children The Value of An Inquiring MindMy Profile

  17. March 21, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Oh gosh, I had no idea of some of these facts OR the symptoms. Thank you for informing me, I shall be saving that photo and sharing it too x #TweensTeensBeyond
    Sharon Powell recently posted…Wordsearch Junior Game GiveawayMy Profile

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