It is highly unlikely everyone reading this will not know someone who has battled with some form of cancer in their lives.
But while we are familiar, through the brilliant work of doctors and some fantastic charities, with the symptoms of more common cancers, some of the rarer forms can often do undetected until it is too late.
We recently sat down with Gill Cole who, during the height of the pandemic, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This is her story.
‘I was diagnosed in October 2020 with ovarian cancer, which was the biggest shock of my life,’ Gill said.
‘Smack bang in the middle of the pandemic, this is dropped on you and it was just a reality check and from being in Noble’s Hospital and them diagnosing me and waiting to go for an operation in Liverpool, I had to go in December 2020, to Liverpool Women’s Hospital and they did a total, radical, hysterectomy on me.’
Ovarian cancer is not silent, it does has symptoms, but Gill had none of what are seen as ‘classic’ symptoms. These symptoms can include: Bloating, stomach pains, weeing more and struggling to eat.
But for Gill, who was doing fitness classes three times a week, she was lethargic and eventually had to go the doctors.
When her blood results came back, they showed a raised marker ‘CA125’ which is an indication that can indicate ovarian cancer.
Fortunately for Gill, she has completed her chemotherapy treatment, but she wanted to share her experience of diagnosis and treatment.
She said: ‘My last visit with Clatterbridge was, “we’ll see you in six months, go life your life”, so it isn’t all doom and gloom. But you must be aware of what is going on in your body and also be aware that a cervical smear test, does not detect ovarian cancer.’
Sandy Denning, Executive Officer at Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association, said that it is perfectly possible for a doctor to miss ovarian cancer as the symptoms can be misdiagnosed as something else.
She added: ‘With ovarian cancer, your symptoms will be there on a daily basis. Ovarian Cancer Action have a ver good diary that you can download and if you want to go see your GP and take that with you, you can say everyday I’ve had this, this and this and you can discuss that with your GP and could really help with getting a diagnosis.’