Everyone gets a stomach ache once in a while, and in most cases it’s nothing to worry about.
But now one woman is urging others to take their chronic illnesses seriously after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Chloe Etheridge started feeling unwell in December 2021.
The 24-year-old said she “ignored” symptoms such as bloating and difficulty eating until her stomach pain got really bad.
The graduate only visited her doctor in April 2022, several months after her symptoms first appeared.
Chloe said: “I ignored all of these things – and it just wasn’t the right thing to do.
“In April I had a really bad stomach ache so I had to go to A&E and found out I had polyps on my ovaries. One was 18cm long and the other 11cm long.
“Between April and July we knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know exactly what my prognosis was, which took three months.”
On July 11, 2022, Chloe received her diagnosis of ovarian cancer and was told to pack her bags and go for chemotherapy the next day at Charing Cross Hospital in London.
Cancer is responsible for 4,100 deaths in the UK each year, which equates to about 11 deaths per day, according to Cancer Research UK.
Data from the charity shows there are around 7,495 cases each year and the survival rate for the disease is 35 per cent.
Khloe said she was relieved to get a diagnosis, adding that waiting was hard as she knew as time went on, the tumor would get bigger.
“I thought it would be a really cinematic moment where you go to the doctor with your mom and cry – but it wasn’t.
“You get into work mode. I had to keep going, it’s been such a busy time, and I felt numb to the thought, ‘Right we need to move on with this.'”
Since her diagnosis, she has undergone chemotherapy for six months.
The four symptoms of ovarian cancer that you should know
The NHS states that symptoms of ovarian cancer often occur 12 or more times a month.
The main signs are:
- Flatulence or feeling bloated
- Pain or tenderness in your abdomen or the area between your hips (pelvis).
- Lack of appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
- An urgent need to urinate or the need to urinate often
The NHS states that you may also have indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, back pain, or feel tired all the time.
You may also lose weight without trying to bleed or bleed from your vagina after menopause.
The NHS states that you should see your doctor if you have any symptoms of ovarian cancer.
“The doctor said it was one of the most aggressive forms of chemotherapy he could prescribe and it is only available in two hospitals in the UK.
“It was incredibly brutal. My chemotherapy had seven different chemical ingredients.
“The side effects were terrible, I had nausea, fatigue and hearing loss – I still can’t hear some frequencies now.”
On January 12 of this year, Khloe had surgery to try to remove as much of the two tumors as possible.
She said the procedure went “very well,” and she is expected to “make a full recovery.”
Get checked out
Now Chloe wants to warn others of her symptoms – so they don’t make the same mistake I did.
She urged people not to stop going to their doctor until they get an answer.
She said: “I didn’t realize it was a symptom of cancer. I don’t think young women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about getting it when you’re very old or have a family history.
“I didn’t have any. The only thing you need are ovaries.”
“I think for women because we have periods, we’re supposed to live with the pain but that shouldn’t be the case.
“If you feel uncomfortable, you should go to your doctor and get it checked out.”
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