We use non-essential cookies (including anonymous analytics) to help us understand if our website is working well and to learn what content is most useful to visitors. We also use some cookies which are essential for our platform to work and help us to provide you with the best experience possible. You can accept or reject our non-essential cookies and change your mind at any time. To learn more, please read our cookies policy.

Update cookie preferences

Emma: "Never in my life did I think it would be me, especially not at 20"

30 October 2020
Emma Harling Blog Main Image

Both Emma and her doctors assumed she had IBS, until they she found a 22cm tumour in her ovaries. At the age of just 20, she never considered that she may be at risk of ovarian cancer. This is her story.

It all started earlier in the year when I started having to get up to wee a lot during the night, feeling sick all the time, and losing my appetite. The doctors and I both put it down to IBS, never in my life did I think it would be cancer.

Then, my stomach ballooned so big that I looked eight months pregnant. I knew something was wrong. The doctors referred me for all sorts of tests, ruling out coeliac disease etc. My mum is a nurse and involved with the “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign, so she noticed the worrying signs. That morning she told me to put CA125 on my blood form. Being paranoid, I googled it straight away and found out that CA125 is a test to look for early signs of ovarian cancer. I assumed the worst. 

Seven hours later the doctor called and said I needed to have a scan. Not wanting to wait I headed straight to A+E. They found a 22cm tumour growing out of my left ovary that was likely to be cancerous.  

I was on my own. No one was with me, no one was there to tell me that everything was going to be ok.  

Fast forward a week and I was going in for a radical debulking surgery as they believed the cancer had spread. The next day I was diagnosed with Germ Cell Yolk Sac ovarian cancer.

I’m currently doing really well and my chemotherapy is nearly finished. I’m awaiting an operation to remove the bad ovary and Fallopian tube and then that’s me done!

“I want to raise as much awareness as I can around cancer because never in my life did I think it would be me, especially not at 20.”

Emma Harling

I couldn’t have got through it without the amazing nurses and doctors who have looked after me, as well as all my family and friends, who have been my rocks. 

I’m now just waiting for get back to work and get on with my life again.

Do you know the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer? 90% of women don't. Click here to find out how you can help raise awareness.