Every 10 hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer.
It’s the most lethal of all of the cancers, usually presents no symptoms, and by the time most women are diagnosed it is often too late.
An early detection test would save lives – thousands and thousands of lives – but does not exist yet. According to Lucinda Nolan, CEO of Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, less than 25 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer survive beyond five years. If we had an early detection test, this would increase to 80 -100 per cent.
With less than two per cent of cancer research grants in the past two years being dedicated to ovarian cancer, the responsibility to make serious and considered change is on us. It’s time for us to open our wallets and our hearts and make change where change is due. If not for your conscience, then for women like Letitia and Vali.
"It all happened so fast."
Those are the words of 37-year-old Letitia Linke from Maitland, South Australia, who has two boys and one aggressive, silent cancer. Three years ago, she was on a "health kick". She was eating well, working out with a personal trainer and had lost 30 kilograms. By her own admission, she was "feeling great". And then she discovered a little lump in her abdomen.
"I went to my doctor, who after a couple of visits, suspected a case of hernia. I was sent to specialist reconstructive surgeon, who ordered an MRI. They found what they thought was a severe case of endometriosis," Letitia tells Mamamia.
"I had a routine procedure to ‘clean up’ the endometriosis. Thankfully, while in surgery, the gynaecologist also performed a biopsy of my ovaries. That’s when they diagnosed me with ovarian cancer."
In describing the diagnosis as a "huge shock", Letitia recalls feeling confused above all else.
"I had never felt better. I didn’t have any of the fatigue associated with cancer. I had no family history and didn’t really have any symptoms, except perhaps a change in bowl movements, which I had put down to my new diet," she says.