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Hoping to raise awareness of a silent killer
12:00pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
A COURAGEOUS woman is hoping to raise awareness of ‘silent killer’ ovarian cancer after being told her condition is incurable.
Former Warrington Borough Council employee Sue Howell has found many women like her miss the early warning signs with the vast majority not finding out until the cancer is advanced.
The 51-year-old, who has been married for 24 years to Matt, said: “I had always had excellent health and rarely even got a cold.
“The early symptoms fell under the radar for me and I didn’t pick them up which, from what I’ve seen on this journey, is the same problem for a lot of ladies.
“In my case I started feeling bloated and I was struggling to eat and didn’t feel well at all.
“My doctor was on the ball and arranged for tests whereas I’ve heard other stories where women are fobbed off and told it’s IBS or their age.
“I knew something was seriously wrong and my stomach was like the size of a space hopper but when I was told I had advanced ovarian cancer my husband Matt and I were completely devastated.”
Sue, who moved to Flintshire when she retired in 2011, has had chemotherapy and a massive operation to cut out as much cancer as possible including a radical hysterectomy, her spleen being removed and the fatty layer that covers the bowel.
Unfortunately after six months remission, old symptoms reappeared and Sue was dealt the blow last week her cancer was back and nothing more could be done.
She is now supporting cancer charity Ovacome and their BEAT campaign to make more people aware of the symptoms.
Sue added: “It’s called the silent killer but it’s also the cancer that whispers and like any cancer the earlier the detection the better chances of survival.
“With hindsight I felt bloated, very tired at times and had back ache which I have since learned are all possible early symptoms.
“I racked my brain thinking how did this happen but it’s all very subtle which is the problem.
“In the year since I have been diagnosed I have cried a lot but there’s also been hope.
“I suppose I was always thinking I would be the one that got away but that hasn’t happened.
“My message to other ladies is to be more aware of what the symptoms are and that smear tests don’t pick it up which is another common misconception.”
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