"Incredibly lucky to be alive" Cary Cochrane on spotting the signs of ovarian cancer
MUM-OF-TWO Cary Cochrane said she is "incredibly lucky" to be here after surviving ovarian cancer.
The 46-year-old went to her doctor after persistent abdomen pains and a grapefruit-sized cyst was found on her ovary.
But the disease was caught before it had a chance to spread, massively increasing Cary's chances of survival. She is urging all women to learn the signs as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March.
The Cleeve Hill resident said: "It is called the silent killer – but it doesn't have to be. There are symptoms and it doesn't have to be a death sentence."
She was living in Tokyo with husband Doug and children Hattie, 14, and Angus, 11, when she noticed something was wrong in February 2010.
"I felt discomfort in my abdomen every time I bent over."
A scan revealed the cyst with a dark patch which set alarm bells ringing.
Cary has a history of gynecological problems and consulted her doctor in England who told her to fly home immediately.
An operation to remove the cyst and ovary found the cells were cancerous cells and she was told she needed a full hysterectomy.
But it was when doctors said she needed chemotherapy that her "world collapsed".
She said: "The reality of what I was facing punched me right on the nose. The word chemo has such negative connotations with hair loss, vomiting and feeling dreadful for months.
"It was a world I knew nothing about because I'm lucky enough that none of my family or friends have had cancer.
"It wasn't the easiest thing, but I got through it. Here I am and I have a story to tell which hopefully gives hope to others that you can survive ovarian cancer."
She said fundraising during her treatment was what kept her going.
"It gave me something positive to focus on and took my mind off what was happening."
To date, she has raised £40,000 with various events including an annual Walkathong with people wearing their knickers over their clothes.
She got the all-clear last autumn but there is still a 70 per cent chance the cancer could return.
"But you can't live life worrying," she said.
"I just want to keep on fundraising because the work Ovarian Cancer Action is doing is amazing."
This year's Walkathong will be held on July 7 in Battersea Park.
For further details, visit Ovarian.org.uk
PERSISTENT STOMACH PAIN
PERSISTED BLOATING OR INCREASED STOMACH SIZE
DIFFICULTY EATING OR FEELING FULL QUICKLY
NEEDING TO URINATE MORE FREQUENTLY