On 'Cancer awareness day' we made it to my local paper, thank you all so much for being there when i needed you most xxx

On 'Cancer awareness day' we made it to my local paper, thank you all so much for being there when i needed you most xxx

Symptoms sign of ovarian cancer

11:00am Tuesday 4th February 2014 in Health Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author By Helen Mead, T&A Reporter

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Janette Oljanuk, who had two ovarian tumours removed

Janette Oljanuk, who had two ovarian tumours removed

When Janette Oljanuk began to feel unwell she thought there was a simple explanation.

“It was Christmas 2012 when I started to feel bloated and tired,” she says. “I had a horse at the time and I put it down to the early starts at the stable, mucking out.”

The primary school learning mentor, who lives in Wibsey, thought the menopause was also having an effect. “I assumed it was a combination of these things,” she adds.

“But over the next six months I became more and more tired and my stomach got bigger. I thought it was maybe my age, that it was just one of those things.”

Eventually, the discomfort and exhaustion led her to visit the local accident and emergency unit. “The doctor told me to go to my GP and ask for a C125 test which looks for a chemical called CA125 in the blood. This is produced by some ovarian cancer cells, and a very high level may mean you have the condition,” says Janette.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced guidance that advises GPs to test for CA125 if a patient frequently experiences symptoms including bloating, feeling full quickly, loss of appetite and the need to urinate urgently or regularly.

These symptoms can suggest irritable bowel syndrome, and the guidance directs testing to be carried out particularly on women aged over 50.

But Janette, now 47, was below that age. At the doctor’s, she “demanded” a blood test. “The doctor wanted me to come back for a smear test, but that would not have picked up any signs of ovarian cancer,” she says.

The day after her test, the mother-of-three grown-up children received an urgent call from the surgery. She was directed to attend Bradford Royal Infirmary for a scan. “Afterwards a consultant told me I had an 11cm tumour in my left ovary,” she says, “I was so shocked.”

Six weeks later, she had an operation at St James’s Hospital in Leeds. “The cancer was at an early stage, but it had quickly progressed to a more advanced stage,” she says. “They found that I had it in both ovaries, the left was 13cm and the right 11cm. It had also spread to my bowel and pelvis.”

The tumours were so large they had pushed against Janette’s stomach and lungs. “I was in agony and was having difficulty breathing,” she says. She was taken to the operating theatre at 9am, where surgeons operated for five hours.”

The outcome for women with ovarian cancer is generally poor, say NICE, with an overall five-year survival rate of less than 35 per cent. This is because most women are not diagnosed until the disease has reached advanced stages.

The stage of the disease is the most important factor affecting the outcome, with the woman’s general health also being important as it affects what treatments can be used.

Most women have symptoms for months before seeking advice and there are often delays before specialist referral.

Janette was fortunate. “They removed it all,” she says, “I was also determined to beat it – I had my first grandchild at Christmas and I was adamant that I would see him go to school.”

Janette sought help from the national charity Ovacome, which provides advice and support to women with ovarian cancer. Now she is trying to raise awareness of the disease.

“People know how to check for breast cancer, but I didn’t know any of the signs for ovarian cancer.”

Janette, who has to have blood tests three times a year, is passing on advice through internet forums My Ovacome and Health Unlocked, as well as her Facebook page. She also wants to draw attention to an online petition set up by a Derbyshire woman – epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/57703.

For more information, visit nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-ovary and ovacome.org.uk. A free, nurse-led service offering confidential information and emotional support to anyone affected by ovarian cancer is on 0845 3710554, support@ovacome.org.uk or healthunlocked.com.

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20 Replies

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  • Well done Janette for raising the profile love x G x :-)

  • Thank you Gwyn- you have helped me so much through this, it's for us all xxxx

  • And it's a well done from me too! X x x

  • Aw thank you,there are so many great people out there who have sent me private messages-many have made me so mad that so little seemed to be done to address this problem to either themselves or family members going through it/ gone through this, but all on this site have'grounded' me, told me facts, pointed me in the right place and helped me so much on this journey- you ladies, are truly an inspiration- I am no longer just a 'me' i am part of an 'us' and that feels wonderful:-) Psi have ordered my badges,pamphlets and posters and am having a 'tea party'to raise funds after all my 'spouting' lol :-) xxx

  • Excellent !

  • Dear Janette - this is absolutely brilliant. Well done you for getting involved in awareness-raising. The article is excellent. xxxx love Annie

  • Great work Janette and thank you for posting it. Lovely photo too.

    Love Mary xx

  • It's a really good article - well done! xx

  • Well done, excellent post. Xx

  • Thank you Janette on behalf of me and my lovely mum. xxx

    I'm planning on doing some fund raising for OC.

    Michele

  • Fantastic! Xxxxx

  • Brilliant article - well done! Sue xx

  • Well done Janette I always tell people the symptons hoping it will help others catching it early.

    Love Jenny xxx

  • Excellent article, very informative and points out the symptoms etc that are often mistaken for something else. Well done Janette!

    Love Brenda x

  • Well done Janette, great article!! xx

  • Well done.

  • Good on you Janette, a wonderful article highlighting our plight to perfection!

    Annette xxx

  • Thank you to all who replied xxx

  • So good to read what you have been through, as my niece who is only thirty one has just had a operation for ovarian cancer, and it was in her womb, pelvic, and five days after that, she had to have her bowl removed as it had gone gangerous, test have just revealed that the cancer which they say is signet cell cancer, started in her appendix, it has been awfull we all thought we was going to loose her, she is still in hospital and very weak and thin. We think it is a miracle she is still with us. Thank you for your story xx

  • Have private messaged you Neice. xxxx

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