Alex Coppock-Bunce of Swindon Wiltshire, UK, was diagnosed with stage 3A low-grade serous ovarian cancer in 2018 at the age of 62.
She saw several doctors over about 18 months for symptoms including abdominal pain, migraines, increased urinary frequency, fatigue, feeling full quickly, urinary tract infections and bloating.
“I even asked for a CA-125 test in case it was ovarian cancer, but was refused,” she said. “Finally I’d had enough and saw another GP who palpated my tummy and said I was growing a football in there and put me on the emergency pathway.”
Alex learned she had cancer from a female consultant “renowned for her poor bedside manner.”
“I was devastated and assumed life was over,” she said. “I realise now I had PTSD as the delivery was so bad and without empathy. I was told to read some books on ovarian cancer and have some cake.”
After surgery and chemotherapy, Alex was prescribed the aromatase inhibitor Letrozole.
“It was hard getting through the chemo and recovering from surgery at the same time,” she said.
Alex’s cancer diagnosis forced her to retire early from her profession as a psycho-therapist. A keen painter, she now uses her skills as an artist to raise funds for research to find better treatments for herself and others with her disease. To date she’s raised over £4500 to support Professor Gourley’s low-grade serous cancer research at the University of Edinburgh through Cure Our Ovarian Cancer.
“Ovarian cancer can happen at any age and there’s still no early screening for it,” she said. “Treatment often isn’t curative but there is research being done with what funds we can raise ourselves for finding effective treatment.”