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At 22 years old, Katherine had the world at her feet; she had moved out of home and started her dream job as a teacher working in a small country town.
“I was feeling unwell for a few months but ignored it because I thought it was fatigue. I was just a young person just starting out in life,” Katherine said.
“After a while, my tummy grew to be huge; I couldn’t eat anything but constantly felt full. I finally went to a local GP and was told I probably had the flu.”
However, after suffering breathing difficulties, Katherine was flown to Mater Hospital Brisbane for further testing—and told she had ovarian cancer.
“I thought ovarian cancer was something that young people would never get.”
Surgery revealed a 20 cm tumour on her right ovary, which had to be removed, along with four litres of fluid.
Following surgery, Katherine also required three months of intensive chemotherapy.
“I wasn’t able to work for seven months and I missed teaching and my old life,” Katherine said.
But her recovery wasn’t over yet—it took another operation before she was clear of cancer cells.
I thought ovarian cancer was something that young people would never get.
“I still require regular check-ups but I have just celebrated my sixth anniversary of being cancer-free, which is a special occasion for me each year.”
Katherine is now helping raise awareness of ovarian cancer and has put her support behind Mater’s new Ovarian Cancer Research Collaborative.
“Ovarian cancer doesn’t discriminate against age and there is still no early detection test such as a pap smear,” she said.
“We all know someone who has been touched by cancer so I think it’s great to have research that will improve treatment options, as well as work towards an early detection test for women.”
Your support helps raise awareness of ovarian cancer and fund Mater’s ovarian cancer research projects that could change the outcomes for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Friendship lives on, even when those we love have gone.
A routine check-up gave Lee more time with his family.
With a promise to her friend, came a new challenge for Kate.