Alison shares her story in the hope that other women will seek advice or get a second opinion.
“I am now 49 years old and I have had no children. I was put on hormone replacement when I was 47 and when I started to feel unwell, I was experiencing mood swings, a bloated stomach and I had lost my appetite. I went to my GP and I spent the next two years having blood tests done with no diagnosis until I got a second opinion.
The new GP diagnosed me with a B12 deficiency but I still had problems so I kept going back. Initially I was told I was constipated, then I was referred to hospital where I was admitted for bladder infection. After scans they found two tumours on my ovaries. I was devastated. I went for my CA125 blood test and CT scan and within two weeks I was given a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
My surgery was planned and I had a full abdominal hysterectomy, part of my stomach and my appendix removed. At this stage I was told that it was stage 2 ovarian cancer. I was very lucky that my tumours had not spread and that my surgery was successful. I now have appointments every 3 months to get my CA125 test done in case my tumours come back.
“For me, the mental trauma was the worst and when I got my results - and I was told I didn’t need chemotherapy - I was over the moon!”Alison Smith
I have struggled since my surgery not knowing if it was successful or not. I spent seven days in hospital, three of them in the high dependency unit. When I got home, my eight-week recovery was very difficult too. It was a very slow process and I had to learn to shower myself and walk properly again. For me, the mental trauma was the worst and when I got my results - and I was told I didn’t need chemotherapy - I was over the moon!
I want to highlight my experience and make sure that every woman look out for signs in their body and to seek help if they are concerned. It is so important that other women experiencing any of the four main symptoms seek advice, get a second opinion and book an appointment with their GP. I know that I am very lucky to be able to tell my story.”
If you are suffering any of the four possible symptoms of ovarian cancer – persistent bloating, persistent stomach pain, difficulty eating or feeling full more quickly, and needing to wee more urgently or frequently – then you should make an appointment to see your GP. Find out more.