October 2021

My name’s Amanda, I am 51 years of age. I was diagnosed in February 2020 with a granulosa cell tumour on my left ovary. My symptoms started with a persistent cough that lasted more than three weeks. I thought I had a chest infection, so I went to see my GP and I was sent straight for a chest x-ray.

The chest x-ray found fluid build-up in my right lung. I was told that there wasn’t cancer in my lung, but that I had pleural effusion (the build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs).

I had also been taken into hospital a number of times as an emergency case because I had very unusually heavy bleeding, it wasn’t stopping each month in between periods, it would just carry on.

I was sent for CT scan after CT scan, and it was discovered that I had a granulosa cell tumour on my ovary. I was in quite a lot of pain and my abdomen was swollen. A CT scan also showed changes in my omentum (a layer of fatty tissue that covers the abdominal organs) and to my pelvic area.

I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, and I was given my diagnosis of a granulosa cell tumour. I feel very lucky, my cancer was at stage 1a when I was diagnosed.

I feel so blessed with the team that I have had at my hospital and with the level of follow-up care that I am now getting. I have my bloods done every four months. I am now waiting on the results from my BRCA test. My team think that I might have a BRCA gene variation because there is a history of breast cancer in my family.

The support I have received from my local Maggie’s Centre in Lanarkshire, which has an ovarian cancer support group on the second Thursday of every month, has been wonderful.

I want to say to anyone out there who has unusual symptoms and hasn’t been to see their doctor: go and get it checked. Going to my GP about my breathing problems saved my life. It’s not worth hesitating, because if you don’t go and get it checked, you won’t know if it’s anything to worry about. Don’t just think that unusual symptoms are normal. The earlier you catch it, the earlier it can be treated.

I was so shocked when I was told I had cancer. My family couldn’t believe it. I’d been healthy – I’d been doing Zumba twice a week! I was as healthy as anything, and then suddenly I had cancer. I had just put my symptoms down to my age.

The thing I’m suffering from the most now is the surgical menopause and a lack of energy. Thankfully I’ve been referred to a menopause specialist.