It's Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and we’re celebrating the people making a difference to the women and families affected by ovarian cancer. Rosie Lapsley is an ovarian cancer survivor who joined the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Network shortly after completing chemotherapy to support the research that had helped her family so much. Here she gives thanks to the generations of researchers – past and present – whose combined efforts are transforming the prospects for women facing a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
"In 2016, two of my sisters were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Very quickly, my daughter and I found out we carried the BRCA1 mutation, inherited from my mother, and planned preventative surgeries. As a result, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and my daughter was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer within a fortnight of one other. We were treated and made full recoveries.
It was a different story for my mother’s generation. She died of breast cancer in 1960 when I was only ten years old, leaving five young children, and my aunt died of ovarian cancer just a few years after that. Back then we had no idea her cancer risk could be familial.
"My family has benefited from major discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancers that were years in the making."Rosie Lapsley
Thankfully due to the wonders of research and the advances in treatment, my sisters and my daughter are all in great health. My family has benefited from major discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancers that were years in the making. Major discoveries that led to the creation of the first drugs ovarian cancer patients had seen in years, which are now helping women without a BRCA mutation live longer, better lives.
We’re lucky to be living in this exciting time and I want to thank everyone involved in research. Your work really has helped us enormously. I hope it will continue to help with earlier diagnosis and improve treatments.
I can’t wait to see what you achieve for the next generation of women and for the future generations of scientists who will build on your discoveries."
The Ovarian Cancer Action Research Network is a nationwide group of people affected by ovarian cancer who use their experience of the disease to help shape ovarian cancer research. Join or find out more here.