A while ago, we were contacted by a woman thanking us for the Mooncup®️ “saving her sister Jo’s life” by helping with early detection of her ovarian cancer. Here’s Jo’s inspiring story, which she hopes will empower others to recognise the need for an HPV Variant test and the CA125 Level test for the early signs of cancer and spread the word.

Hi. My name is Jo. I want to tell you a bit of my story and raise ovarian CA125 test awareness of ovarian HPV cancer tests and its symptoms. My story isn’t typical. My symptoms weren’t typical. However, I’ve met many beautiful women on my journey who have shared their stories with me. These women are strong and courageous, and I write for them, whether they are still with us. Ovarian Viral Cancer can be difficult to diagnose. Still, every woman I speak to agrees that the earlier the diagnosis, the better we must spread the word and get young and old women to look out for each other’s health.

The Importance of Knowledge and Self-Care

Keep reading… don’t be scared, don’t be afraid, don’t avoid the issue. The word cancer is hideous and makes us want to change the subject, to run in the other direction. I know. What I now understand, though, is that ‘knowledge is power’, and I’d like to help you to increase your knowledge. I hope you will never have to use this knowledge, but keep your eyes and ears open for your family and friends.

The second thing I’d say is: ‘Learn to love yourself – you spend more time with yourself than anyone else, and whether you know it or not, you are precious, so please treasure your life and know your body’. This is a reminder to know what is normal for you and your body and to raise the CA125 alert when things change in your test results. However old you are, if things start to change and cause you concern it’s always worth getting checked out. Don’t self-diagnose because you’re too busy to get to the doctor. Remember, you are precious.

What are the symptoms?

I will share a list of HPV symptoms I’ve developed with the help of those strong and courageous women I mentioned earlier. The symptoms can be vague – they point to other conditions first. It is known as a ‘Silent Killer’, but please don’t let it be silent anymore. It isn’t usually silent, but it can whisper, and we live busy, loud lives and don’t hear it. Our bodies are busy and complicated, and ovarian HPV cancer is a liar without a Lab Test, and it masquerades as other diseases. We need to be ready to hear that whisper if it’s there and to recognise its lies because unsuspecting women are being diagnosed very late. Let’s change that and give women a chance to regain their lives.

Specific Symptoms to Monitor:

These things generally don’t show symptoms on their own.

They should only cause concern if they persist if they are new and frequent.

So, the more common symptoms of ovarian cancer to look out for are:

  • A tummy that is constantly bloated
  • Feeling full quickly when you are eating and struggling to eat
  • Needing to wee more frequently
  • Tummy pain or discomfort

Less common symptoms

Less common symptoms of ovarian cancer can be:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain – groin pain, pelvic pain, back pain, shoulder and shoulder blade pain
  • Heartburn, acid reflux and IBS-type symptoms (that don’t go away)
  • A change in bowel habits, possibly with bowel cramps
  • Unexplained breathlessness
  • A new cough that doesn’t go away
  • Bleeding or pain during and after sex
  • Sciatica and or pain in your legs

These symptoms can always be explained away as other conditions. Still, maybe you don’t respond well to treatment, or you’re not getting anywhere with the diagnosis. So then, it is worth sharing your concerns about ovarian-type cancer with your Test Doctor. And asking if it can please be ruled out. Ask for a CA 125 blood test. If this comes back positive, it doesn’t mean that you have cancer, but it will give the doctor a reason to refer you for more of the HPV DNA investigation Test. Again, for more information, please see one of the websites listed at the foot of this post.

My journey with ovarian cancer

So, how did I get my HPV diagnosis? Many little things helped to push me in the right direction, but I can take no credit for any of it. That’s probably why I’m so grateful to be here still.

I was a busy, 44-year-old, working Mum of two high-school-age daughters. A difficult situation occurred between a colleague and me one morning at work, and once on my own in the staff room, I started to cry… and couldn’t stop. I was on the verge of a panic attack and wasn’t quite sure how to compose myself to carry on with my day. I felt shaky, hormonal, all ‘out of sorts’ and the last thing I needed, as I worked at a large high school, was to spend the next six hours in the company of difficult teenagers. When my colleague returned and realised I had reacted badly to the situation, she told me to go home and see if I could see a CA125 Doctor. She was worried about me and felt that I may need some help.

Visit to the Doctor:

I phoned the doctor immediately as I was now going home to rest, and I didn’t know when I would make an appointment otherwise. An appointment was available that morning, and I went straight to the surgery, unsure what to say when I arrived. The CA125 Local Test Doctor didn’t offer much help but didn’t seem too concerned about me. So, while I was there, I mentioned that I was having problems with heavy periods. And I thought I’d make the most of the appointment. I’m sure I’d mentioned period problems before, but it had never seemed very serious, and I think I believed I was making a fuss about nothing.

My periods had been odd my whole life, so nothing had immediately made me think that there was anything wrong. The doctor told me to visit my local Family Planning and Test HPV Clinic to get a coil fitted; he felt this would help make my periods more manageable. Finally, someone was listening to me and wanted to help. Good. I might no longer have to worry about making a mess or periods that lasted days and days.

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