Together we can stop ovarian cancer

Together we can stop ovarian cancer

Together we can stop ovarian cancer

As a five-time cancer survivor, I know I am unbelievably lucky to be alive. However, this is not the reality for the majority of ovarian cancer patients.

Ovarian cancer is a complex cancer, with many different forms. The symptoms can be very subtle and can often be hard to distinguish. Even with treatment, 54 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die five years after their diagnosis.

Currently, the treatment paradigm for ovarian cancer is a ‘one size fits all’ plan. This does not provide many women with the tailored treatment plan that is right for them.

At the age of 49, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was terrified that I might not be there for my daughter, Zoe, who at the time was only seven. Fortunately, the surgery was successful, and the breast cancer did not return.

14 years later, I mentioned to my doctor that I was experiencing some bloating, which was a fairly common complaint for a 64-year-old woman. After being referred to an oncologist and completing some tests, I was unfortunately diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.

With the support of my doctor, I underwent four months of gruelling chemotherapy. The toll it took on my body was immense. In conjunction with a clinical trial I was involved in, I received the good news that I was in remission.

In the following five years from that point, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer another three times. It was one of the hardest times in my life but I was able to overcome it thanks to my doctors and the discoveries attributed in thanks to WEHI researchers.

To make a difference in the lives of people like myself, WEHI researchers are drawing on 105 years of discoveries and working closely to finding better treatments and early diagnostic tools to stop ovarian cancer.  

I work closely with Professor Clare Scott and her team. Clare is joint head of Clinical Translation at WEHI and a medical oncologist at three hospitals in Melbourne. In a recent study, Professor Scott and her team identified a new group of ovarian cancer patients who should be included in trials of PARP inhibitors, a type of targeted cancer therapy that is effective in cancers such as ovarian cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.

I am so thankful to all the incredible people who support WEHI and their medical research, because if it were not for you, I would not be here.

Together, we can make a difference and give hope to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Thank you for reading my story.

Jan

Infographic of ovarian cancer statistics

 

 

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Pictured: ovarian cancer survivor Jan Antony is now partnering with WEHI cancer researcher Professor Clare Scott through the Consumer Buddy program, to help advance research into this disease.