A British woman who learned through Facebook that she might be suffering from an aggressive form of ovarian cancer is now fighting back and trying to spread awareness about the disease and its warning signs.
The Mirror reports Laura Everley, of Crawley, West Sussex, was just 35 years old early last year when she happened upon an informative post on Facebook about the disease. The post had been shared by a friend and it detailed a list of symptoms she had been experiencing including constipation, a frequent need to urinate, lower back pain, and bloating.
"Before that I thought I could have irritable bowel syndrome because there are symptoms which are the same,” Everley recently told Crawley News.
She said she had tried a variety of fixes to address the irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions from which she thought she might be suffering, but none of them provided any relief. It wasn’t until she saw the Facebook post that she began to worry it could be something much more serious.
“There was a list of symptoms and I realized I had them all,” Everley told the Mirror. “I called my doctor straight away and told her that I thought I might have cancer.”
After doctors removed a cyst, performed a biopsy, and ran some other tests, Everley's fears were confirmed.
In October 2014 she was called to a nearby hospital and given her diagnosis.
“I thought I was just going in for check up so I didn’t think to take anyone with me,” she told the Mirror. “I was told I had clear cell carcinoma.”
Now 36, Everley has undergone a full hysterectomy and is halfway through her chemotherapy treatments. Doctors tell her that her prognosis is good.
But Everley is not just waiting around to get the news she is cancer-free. She is working to spread the word about the disease with her Twitter account and through other means. She recently hosted a morning coffee and cupcake fundraiser at her house. The cash raised at the event will be sent to the charity Target Ovarian Cancer, she told Crawley News.
Everley said awareness of the disease’s warning signs is important because there isn’t a simple screening for ovarian cancer like there is for cervical cancer and other forms of cancer.
"More women need to know because early diagnosis is the best chance of survival,” she said. “It can be easy to dismiss the symptoms and put them down to something else but it is not worth the risk.
"I had all of the symptoms but some people may only be experiencing one or two,” Everley told Crawley News.
"Don't think you need all of them to have cancer,” she added.
Photo Credit: WikiCommons, Twitter: Laura Everley