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Meet Sian.

Sian received support from our qualified nurses this year after an early chance to diagnose her stage 4 ovarian cancer was missed.

When Sian, 59, was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, one of her first thoughts were of her adult daughters and their chances of developing cancer.

Her mother has passed from lung cancer, which had spread to her brain, her aunt had stomach cancer, her cousin breast cancer, and she feared for her children.

Sian started to believe cancer might be in her family line and consultants later confirmed she did have the faulty BRCA 1 gene, the likely cause of her ovarian cancer.  After the shock of the diagnosis, she urged all the family to be tested for the rogue gene, including her daughters Katie and Emma who are both in their 30s.

Sadly, it was too late for Sian, a retired health visitor, from Swansea,

“I wouldn’t want my children to through what I had been going through, or anyone else, for that matter” she said.

“It was a feeling of relief, in a way, when I was told I had the faulty BRCA 1 gene, because it meant if my daughters had it too, and they knew they would have a chance I didn’t have. It would have given them an early warning.

The way I saw it is if I’d known I carried the gene, everyone would have been watching and monitoring me. Things might have been very different, but at least my daughters would have the chance I didn’t.”

It came as massive relief to Sian when Katie and Emma discovered they did not have the faulty BRCA 1 gene following testing.

For Sian, who is currently having life-extending treatment, an early diagnosis could have led to an all-clear.

It was whilst lying on her stomach in the shallows of a hotel pool in Spain last year, that Sian discovered a “large, hard lump” in her womb area.

She instinctively knew something was wrong but didn’t want to spoil the holiday so didn’t tell husband Tony.

 Within weeks, Sian was to be diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.

I knew the lump I felt lying there shouldn’t be there. I went straight to the doctor when I got home.

“I’d accepted something was wrong with my ovaries and uterus, because of the lump. But when I was told the cancer was in my lymph and my lungs, that really knocked me off my feet.”

Finding the lump was not the first symptom for Sian who’d gone to the GP two years earlier after experiencing shooting pains in her pelvic region,

She had recently retired and looking forward to a slower pace of life, spending more time with family and in the garden, when she started having the pain.

 She thought it best to get it checked out, but her GP said they couldn’t find anything wrong, telling her to return if the pain persisted.  The pain did return, intermittently, but Sian didn’t make another appointment.

I didn’t go back as I thought it was okay”, she explained. “I was having smear tests that had showed some abnormal cells, but the results came back fine. I just thought it would be picked up by that wrongly.”

Sian started chemotherapy at Swansea’s Singleton Hospital last December, but it hasn’t been plain sailing.

She had a bad reaction to the first type of chemotherapy, and her red blood cell count was so low recently, she had to have a blood transfusion.

“The hardest part for me is that my husband Tony has had to take on the burden, as well as working full time.  I can’t do heavy work at home anymore. I live from day to day.  Some days I can only sit and watch TV. It’s taking a toll on him, and I’m afraid for him. It’s all so very upsetting.

My message to other women is to persist if you have a pain, to question your GP, to go back, as my cancer could have been detected a lot earlier.”

Although latest scans show that there had been a reduction in the size of the tumour.  Sian knows that she won’t be cured, and that the treatment is buying her time.

Tenovus Cancer Care has been by Sian’s side during the heartbreak of her diagnosis: “I was having telephone calls from Tenovus Cancer Care, and I found the nurses very supportive and knowledgeable, especially with my medication as it could be confusing. I found the support from Tenovus Cancer Care has been just right, and not too intrusive. It was also good to talk to someone outside the family and I would recommend the service to anyone. Life is for living and now I am living it the best I can.”

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010