Queensland mum’s powerful message this Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Above: Karlie Holloway (pic of Karlie in 2015 after my chemo started - hadn't lost her eyelashes or eyebrows yet/Karlie growing her long hair back...last year 2020)
This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (February), Queensland mum Karlie Holloway is encouraging Queenslanders to learn the signs and symptoms of ovarian Cancer.
Karlie’s Ovarian cancer journey started with fatigue and what was thought to be irritable bowel syndrome before an ultrasound detected two tumours, one on each ovary and she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer.
In its early stages, ovarian cancer typically has no symptoms, meaning it is often diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced and has spread to other organs.
Karlie said her ovarian cancer diagnosis came as a shock to her and that it was challenging to associate her symptoms with the disease.
“Ovarian cancer is well known as being difficult to diagnose or misdiagnosed,” said Ms Holloway.
“Looking back, I had no idea what was happening inside my body.
“I ignored the early signs simply because I didn’t know what they were.”
Occasionally, symptoms of ovarian cancer do occur before the disease is diagnosed.
These symptoms may include increased pressure, pain or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvis, feeling full and/or having difficulty eating, unexplained weight gain or loss, back pain, indigestion, diarrhea, changes in menstrual pattern, bleeding after menopause, pain during sex, nausea or excessive fatigue. As these symptoms may occur with other conditions it’s recommended to see your doctor if they are new, severe, cause discomfort, persist over a period of time or if you are concerned.
When diagnosed, Karlie decided to seek support through Cancer Council Queensland’s support services. “Cancer Council Queensland helped my family and I during my treatment and I will never forget just how helpful their support was.” Ms Holloway said.
“Looking back, I don't think I would have been able to keep so positive without this organisation.” Each year in Queensland, approximately 280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
On a mission to protect other women from ovarian cancer Karlie and her friends Katherine and Rebecca, also known as the ‘TEALSTERS’ are passionately raising awareness throughout the Queensland community.
“I share my passion for ovarian cancer awareness and gynaecological cancer research advancements with two very special people,” said Ms Holloway.
“I am extremely grateful to have Katherine and Rebecca by my side.
“Together, we are the #TEALSTERS.FC and we will make a difference to those who will also and very sadly will be diagnosed with cancer.” Some factors may reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer. These include having children before the age of 35, breastfeeding, using the combined oral contraceptive pill for several years, and having your fallopian tubes tied or removed. To find out more about ovarian cancer, please visit, https://cancerqld.org.au/cancer-information. If you or a loved one needs support following a cancer diagnosis, please call 13 11 20 or visit cancerqld.org.au.