What are the signs of ovarian cancer?
At 22, Chloe Spitalnic would hang out with her friends and planned to finish a Master’s degree, then a cancer diagnosis turned her world upside down.
Already lactose and fructose intolerant, Chloe didn’t think much of it when her stomach started to ache.
Over the next five days, in 2020, the student experienced intermittent stomach pain.
Chloe thought it was nothing more than a reaction to what she had been eating, but then the stomach pain became particularly painful.
“I complained to my family about it,” Chloe said. “It turned into quite a sharp pain, and it even hurt to breathe or move around.”
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Concerned, her mum and sister urged Chloe to book a doctor’s appointment, so she did.
At the height of the Covid pandemic in Victoria, Melbourne, Chloe first had a telephone consultation.
A face-to-face consultation soon followed, whereby the doctor referred Chloe for an ultrasound.
On August 12, Chloe received a shocking call from the doctor about her ultrasound results.
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“When she called, she asked if anyone was with me,” Chloe told FEMAIL. “My dad was in the other room, but I still didn’t think it was anything major.”
Chloe, now 25, said: “I remember lying in bed with my phone on speaker. She told me I had three large cysts on my ovary, which they believed were cancerous.
“I started sobbing instantly. I went to my dad and handed him the phone to talk to the doctor.”
Her dad hung the phone up in disbelief and was determined Chloe was going to get a second medical opinion.
“I couldn’t stop crying and freaked out,” Chloe remembered. “I instantly feared for my life.”
Chloe received an official diagnosis of stage three ovarian cancer, which required invasive surgery to be treated.
While still studying, Chloe underwent months of chemotherapy, which she found “exhausting”.
Now Chloe takes a daily tablet to help prevent the cancer from recurring and has check-ups every three months.
The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are listed by the NHS as:
- A swollen tummy or feeling bloated
- Pain or tenderness in your tummy or the area between the hips (pelvis)
- No appetite or feeling full quickly after eating
- An urgent need to pee or needing to pee more often
Other symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Back pain
- Feeling tired all the time
- Losing weight without trying
- Bleeding from the vagina after the menopause
If you experience these symptoms, speak to your GP.
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