Pamela: "I’m sharing my experience to help highlight the importance of an early diagnosis and effective treatment"

01 March 2021
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Pamela Bonati was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2018 at the age of 78. She was fast-tracked by her GP for a swift diagnosis and quickly began a combination of surgery and chemo to treat the disease. Find out how Pamela is sharing her story to ensure all women, despite their age, receive the same standard of care. 

Three years before my diagnosis, I experienced unexplained spotting and occasional light period pains. At the time I was fit and healthy, swimming daily and enjoying life. In fact I'd always suffered with period like pains as I had endometriosis until I was about 55. But after a while the symptoms passed and I thought nothing more of them. It was only when the pain and spotting returned in 2018, that I became concerned.  

I was aware of ovarian cancer because my Italian mother-in-law died from the disease. My sister-in-law had it too in her late sixties. She is now going on 93! So when I returned to the GP, I was grateful to be fast-tracked for a swift diagnosis. It took my local hospital three months of tests and then a laparoscopy to confirm my diagnosis, that was missed three years before. I was told I had stage 3 epithelial ovarian cancer and I quickly began a combination of surgery and chemo to treat the disease. 

Ovarian Cancer Action’s new report has revealed that women over seventy face certain barriers when it comes to getting an ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatments for the disease. I’m sharing my experience to help highlight the importance of an early diagnosis and effective treatment.

"I have received brilliant care from three separate hospitals and wish for all women to receive the same, despite their age"

Pamela

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I have my ups and downs but generally fare well. Some days I have to pinch myself to remember I have cancer. Before my diagnosis I was swimming, walking and travelling at every opportunity and I hope to be back doing those things again eventually. I’m very grateful for the excellent treatment I have received and the time it gives me with my rock of a husband, my son and his wife and our wonderful friends. I sincerely hope I have a lot more living to do.

Now 81, Pamela is currently undergoing treatment for relapsed ovarian cancer and hopes to join a clinical trial in the near future. Find out more about our age inequality report and how you can help here