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27 April 2011, 09:19
A Portsmouth mum of two has been talking about how she was a “reasonably healthy and fit” woman when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2001.
53 year old Linda Facey, a former care homes inspector, said she had been experiencing symptoms of the disease for some time, but had not been to see her GP until they became worse on a family holiday. Now she’s urging other women to get checked if they feel something is wrong.
“For a while I had been experiencing some changes in my body which had bothered me a bit” she said.
“At 43 years of age, with a young family and a responsible job, I put these down to natural changes in lifestyle and in my body. I had begun to think perhaps I should go to my GP and have them checked out.
“I did not realise then that some of these things were symptoms of a more serious problem which was later diagnosed as ovarian cancer.
“By the second week of my holiday I knew I had something more serious as the pain in my pelvic area increased and my tummy swelled.
“The clothes that had fitted me the week before now felt tight and uncomfortable and yet I had been eating less on holiday as I felt full when I ate.”
She said she decided to see her GP on her return home and underwent various tests.
She began to experience more severe pelvic pain and a swollen abdomen, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) “seemed to be the diagnosis”, she said.
“Approximately seven weeks later after several trips to my GP I was very ill and unable to get out of bed without help,'' she said.
“I ended up being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, that quick, the disease they call the 'silent killer'.
“I knew deep down it had not been silent, I hadn't thought I was ignoring anything dangerous ... I hadn't checked it out.”
She has undergone four courses of chemotherapy and also radiotherapy on her pelvic area. Mrs Facey had six years of almost continuous treatment after diagnosis.
Now aged 53, the mother-of-two is part of a support group for women based in Portsmouth and has played a part in drawing up the Nice guidelines.
“We need women to recognise their own bodies and notice the changes but be aware that some may need further investigation,” she said.
“In our busy lives we shouldn't put concerns about our bodies on the back burner but should be knowledgeable.”