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Sophie: “I was told I had a harmless cyst - then I was diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumour”

01 November 2023

Sophie - shaving her hair

Sophie suffered from many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, aged just 25, but was informed by her doctor that these were caused by a harmless cyst. Just over a month later, Sophie was sadly diagnosed with a rare, aggressive ovarian cancer.

Here Sophie shares her story and how she is coping.

“I had no idea what the symptoms of ovarian cancer were, and it hadn’t been mentioned by my doctor at all either.

I visited them numerous times with stomach ache, bloating and heavy periods. Eventually, in December 2015, I was told that I had an ovarian cyst. After being reassured that the cyst was nothing to worry about, I was put on a non-urgent waiting list for it to be removed.

And so I carried on as normal. That month, my now husband proposed and we were very excited when we booked our wedding for the following year.

But, a month later in January 2016, I woke up in the middle of the night in so much pain. It was an emergency and I was admitted to hospital.

“Relieved that doctors were planning to operate the next day to remove the cyst, I believed things were finally getting sorted.”


A consultant came to see me on my own during the following morning. He told me that my blood tests had come back showing that I had a rare and fast spreading form of cancer, called germ cell ovarian cancer.

This was the first time I had ever heard about ovarian cancer. I was so worried when I was told I had it, and it wasn’t ‘just’ a cyst on one of my ovaries. I just immediately associated cancer with death.

I was transferred to another hospital for surgery to remove one of my ovaries along with the cancer. Luckily, this all happened so quickly. Looking back, I’m so glad that we phoned an ambulance that night - otherwise I wouldn’t have been diagnosed for an even longer period of time.


Planning for the future

I started to feel more optimistic about what lay ahead. I was referred to a specialist consultant at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He reassured me not to cancel my wedding. He set me up my BEP chemotherapy, which can be used to treat germ cell ovarian cancer. My consultant knew that I would make it through - and I believed him.

Sophie - Wedding Photo

After three rounds of intense chemotherapy back in Devon and week-long stays in hospital, I was finally given the all clear. I got married as planned in July 2016 - and I wore my wig!

Six years on, I am still clear of the cancer. I have a three year old daughter and I’ve recently had twins, too!

I now have three monthly check ups either at home in Devon or at Charing Cross. Going for check ups always makes me a little nervous, in case they say the cancer is still there or has returned.

“If I had been diagnosed sooner, I would have been in less pain and wouldn’t have needed such invasive treatment.”

I wish women and health professionals had more awareness of the symptoms.

If you have any of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, please don’t avoid the doctors and don’t be afraid to keep going back if you are still worried. I kept being told it was down to other things when a simple blood test would have identified the cancer earlier on.”

Sophie - Wedding Day

The earlier ovarian cancer is detected, the better chance a woman has of survival.

Here at Ovarian Cancer Action, we’re empowering women, health professionals and higher risk communities with knowledge about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Our team of scientists are working to develop the world’s first ovarian cancer screening tool that will help to diagnose the disease in as early a stage as possible.

You can follow Sophie and her journey on her blog here.