A graduate who famously ignored her cancer symptoms urges other young women to go see a doctor if they’re worried.
Chloe Etheridge, 24, from Whitstable, Kent, has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer after seven months of feeling ill.
She says she “ignored” symptoms such as bloating and difficulty eating until her stomach pain got really bad.
Chloe Etheridge, 24, from Whitstable, Kent, who ignored her cancer symptoms for months, urges other young women to go see a doctor if they are worried
Then I went to A&E in April 2022, where they did an ultrasound – which revealed two tumors in my ovaries.
Khloe underwent removal surgery earlier this month and is expected to make a full recovery.
But she wants to speak out to urge other young women to see a doctor if they’re worried – and to challenge “misconceptions”.
Chloe said: ‘Book an appointment with your GP and don’t stop until you have an answer.
She “ignored” symptoms like bloating and difficulty eating until her stomach ache got really bad
Khloe underwent the removal surgery earlier this month at Charing Cross Hospital in London and is expected to make a full recovery.
“If you feel you don’t have an adequate answer – keep coming back.”
Chloe says she first started experiencing symptoms of ovarian cancer in December 2021.
These problems included bloating, eating and abdominal pain.
But she ignored them for months, only seeing a doctor in April last year when the pain became severe.
‘I ignored all of these things – and it just wasn’t the right thing to do,’ said Chloe.
“In April, I had severe stomach pains, so I had to go to A&E and found out I had polyps on my ovaries. One was 18 cm long and the other 11 cm long.
Khloe was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer – a disease in which cancer cells form in the germ cells of the ovaries
Between April and July we knew something was wrong with me but we didn’t know exactly what my diagnosis took three months to do.
Chloe received her diagnosis on 11 July 2022 – and was told to pack her bags and go for chemotherapy the next day at Charing Cross Hospital in London.
She said: ‘It felt so good to finally be diagnosed. The wait was horrendous and I knew it was getting bigger all the time, and I wanted to start treatment.
“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 go into work mode. I had to keep going, it was such a busy time, and I felt numb in the thought, “Right we need to move on with this.”
Chloe was diagnosed with germ cell ovarian cancer – a disease in which cancer cells form in the germ cells of the ovaries.
She said: This cancer mainly affects young women and children.
Since then, I’ve had six months of chemotherapy, which started the day after my diagnosis.
The doctor said it was one of the most aggressive forms of chemotherapy he could prescribe and it is only available at two hospitals in the UK.
Khloe had surgery on January 12 of this year to try to remove as much of the two tumors as possible, and she is expected to make a full recovery.
It was incredibly brutal. My chemotherapy contained seven different chemical components.
“The side effects were terrible, I had nausea, fatigue and hearing loss – I still can’t hear some frequencies now.”
Khloe had surgery on January 12th of this year to try to remove as much of the two tumors as possible.
She said the procedure went “really well,” and she is expected to “make a full recovery.”
Now Chloe wants to warn others of her symptoms — so they get tested.
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 old or have a family history.
I didn’t have any of them. The only thing you need are ovaries.
I think for women because we have periods we are 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.”
What is ovarian cancer and what are its symptoms?
Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovaries, the part of the female reproductive system that contains her eggs. There are two ovaries, both of which are connected to the uterus. Ovarian cancer can spread to the nearby bowel and bladder.
It is the eighth most common type of cancer in women, and it is most common in women who have gone through menopause but it can affect women of any age.
About 66 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the more advanced stages of the disease.
At the time of diagnosis, 60 percent of ovarian cancers will have already spread to other parts of the body, bringing the five-year survival rate down to 30 percent from 90 percent in the early stage.
It is diagnosed so late because its location in the pelvis means that symptoms can be vague and difficult to recognize, especially early on.
They are often the same symptoms as less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Feeling constantly bloated
- Discomfort in the abdominal or pelvic area
- Feeling of fullness quickly when eating, or loss of appetite
- Needing to urinate more than usual or urgently
See your doctor if:
You have been feeling bloated most days for the past 3 weeks
you have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that don’t go away – especially if you’re over 50 or have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may be at increased risk
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