Ovarian cancer survivor Rosemary Willett.
Ovarian cancer survivor Rosemary Willett. David Nielsen

Survivor raising alarm on cancer

SHE may have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but Rosemaree Willett counts herself lucky to have survived the disease.

The 54-year-old was diagnosed in April 2008 and is one of the survivors sharing their stories as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Ms Willett said after her menstrual cycle lasted three months she knew she had to seek medical help.

The mother of one said she can still clearly remember where she was when she got the call saying her fears had been confirmed.

“The day I was diagnosed I don’t even remember walking out of the supermarket,” Ms Willett said.

“Normally I don’t let things worry me, but this sort of thing you tend to only hear about the bad cases. You don’t hear that they can cure people.”

The Silkstone resident said just days later she was undergoing treatment for the disease.

“I was lucky the cancer hadn’t metastasised,” Ms Willett said.

“As they caught it early there was no chemotherapy or radiation.

“I just had to have a hysterectomy.”

She said the diagnosis had changed her outlook on life and she was now proactive about encouraging others to have regular health check-ups, keeping in closer touch with family and “not putting much off”.

Ovarian Cancer Australia chair Paula Benson said the aim of the month was to ensure women knew as much about ovarian cancer symptoms as they did about breast cancer symptoms.

“This year more than 1200 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and, sadly, around 800 will die from the disease,” she said. “Currently, 75 per cent of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the advanced stages and don’t live beyond five years. And yet, if diagnosed early, the majority of those women can survive.”

People are also encouraged to hold an event on Teal Ribbon Day on February 23 to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

To register your event, visit the website or call 1300 660 334.

WARNING SIGNS

Unexplained abdominal or pelvic pain.

Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly.

Increased abdominal size or persistent bloating.

Excessive fatigue

Weight loss or weight gain



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