Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in my twenties
Teacher and blogger Laura discusses her experiences of ovarian cancer, and treatment at The Royal Marsden.
“In May 2016, I began to experience cramps, bloating that didn’t go away and pelvic pain, and I went to the toilet more and was badly constipated. I looked pregnant and I even had to pull over while driving one day because of stomach cramps. But three different doctors told me that my symptoms had nothing to do with my ovaries, despite knowing that I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation. I was told that I was far too young to be at risk of ovarian cancer, and that it was likely to be irritable bowel syndrome or constipation.
When I was eventually transferred to The Royal Marsden and received the diagnosis, beneath all of the anger and pain, I was in some way relieved to finally have an answer.
Under the care of Professor Martin Gore and Mr John Butler, I underwent 18 sessions of chemotherapy and seven hours of radical debulking surgery. I was expected to stay in hospital for three weeks after my operation, but I recovered really quickly and went home after six days. I went into remission and had maintenance treatment every three weeks. I recently had a small relapse, but thankfully it was all removed in surgery; I’m just coming to the end of six cycles of preventative chemotherapy and will then go onto a treatment called a PARP inhibitor.
All the staff at The Royal Marsden are amazing, from the doctors to the lady who does the catering. Every nurse I’ve met has left a mark on me, and I don’t just mean at the site of my cannula! They make you feel like a person and not just a cancer patient – the care they give you is nothing short of incredible.”