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Ovarian Cancer Diagnosed As IBS

Posted Jun 30 2009 4:18pm

Lindy Waldron was shocked t discover she had ovarian cancer after previously being wrongly diagnosed with irratbale bowel syndrome (IBS).

The woman, a 59 year old librarian from East Sussex said, “I began to experience right-sided abdominal pain, which became persistent and eventually kept me awake at night.

“Very worried and convinced I had bowel cancer, I visited my GP.

“She felt my abdomen and couldn’t detect anything abnormal. Her diagnosis was IBS, but seeing the worried look on my face she agreed to refer me to a gastroenterologist.

“He also examined me abdominally and recorded ‘no obvious mass’. Thankfully, with private health insurance, it was only a short wait for a colonoscopy to rule out colitis.

“The procedure was difficult and painful and although the results were normal, my ovary on the right side was seen to be protruding against the intestine.

“A week later I had a trans-vaginal ultrasound (TVU) and during the scan I realised something was very wrong.

“The sonographer ran to find the consultant with the results. I remember sitting alone in the car in a complete state of shock.

“The consultant rang me later with the bad news: I had a large irregular complex mass behind the uterus and extending to both sides of the pelvis.

“I was referred urgently to a gynaecologist. When I rang my GP to tell her I might have cancer, she was lost for words.”

Mrs Waldron was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years ago when she was 54, but is now in full remission and goes to the hospital regularly for check ups.

Her story highlights the importance of a correct and early diagnosis of ovarian cancer, as chances of survival increase significantly if the disease is caught early enough. If left untreated however, death rates are hugely increased.

Ovarian cancer can often manifest with similar symptoms to IBS – abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. However, look out for these symptoms as they could indicate early stage ovarian cancer, irregular periods, lower tummy pain, back pain, passing urine more often than usual, constipation, pain during sex and a swollen abdomen. If in doubt, get along to your GP – its better to be safe than sorry.

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