image

Suzanne’s story for Ovarian Cancer Awareness month!

Retired nurse Suzanne Irwin is passionate about sharing her story for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this March, so that other women with abdominal and pelvic problems might consider the disease earlier.

She knows the value of high profile awareness activity like the Touch of Teal Tea fashion show which she is taking part in this March with 11 other women diagnosed with the disease for the ovarian cancer support charity Ovacome.

Susan Irwin

Like many women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the 56-year-old mother of two from Northolt, West London, had dismissed her pelvic pain and stomach upset for many months as being nothing serious.

She had a demanding job, was going through the menopause and had a history of irritable bowel syndrome: three things she considered might be the cause of her symptoms.

And it was only while working in clinic with a patient and she read an awareness poster for ovarian cancer, outlining all of the things she had been feeling, that she realised that she might have the disease.

“I had been experiencing low level pelvic pain for well over a year, but nothing had shown up on scans and I blamed it on the menopause and put it to the back of my mind,” says Suzanne.

“Coming to the end of the menopause my GP thought I might have IBS, but I had that before and it felt different. My stomach felt unsettled and after eating I would need to rush to the toilet,” she adds.

Matching her symptoms to the poster she knew that she had to ask her GP for a CA125 blood test used to detect the possibility of the disease. Her results indicated that further investigations were needed, which in turn led to a diagnosis of stage 3c ovarian cancer in December 2014.

Suzanne, who retired after her initial surgery and chemotherapy, had a recurrence in 2017 and although her disease is incurable she is grateful it is treatable.

She now wants to alert others to the warning signs highlighted in Ovacome’s easy to remember BEAT acronym:

B is for bloating that is persistent and does not come and go

E is for eating difficulties and feeling fuller

A is for abdominal or pelvic pain you feel most days 

T is for toilet changes, bowel or bladder.

“The symptoms may be vague and probably will be something else, but get them checked out,” says Suzanne. “I feel lucky that because I responded to that poster, I can go out and live life day by day, taking part in Touch of Teal Tea and enjoying nature.”

Touch of Teal fashion show models

If you are concerned about ovarian cancer contact Ovacome’s freephone support line on 0800 008 7054 or visit www.ovacome.org.uk


Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.

ASK THE EXPERT

* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.

 

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!