A UK woman was told by doctors her fatigue was due to being overweight and discovered the truth was much more sinister.
Hannah Catton is currently fighting for her life – and is staying 10,500 miles away from her home in Faversham, Kent, while in Melbourne, Australia.
Hannah, 24, moved to Melbourne in 2019 to work at a veterinary facility before becoming increasingly worried about her health.
She went to the doctor after being tired as well as bloated stomach, Repeated urinary tract infections and menstrual irregularities.
But she said she had been told it could be related to stress and that she should slim down.
Hannah said: “For over a year I went to different doctors looking for a GP who would listen when I told them my periods were irregular and something was wrong.
“The response from all of them was ‘you’re stressed, you’re fine, give it time, lose weight’.
“I had to live with painful periods, chronic fatigue, UTI-like symptoms and bloating. I knew something was wrong but none of the doctors seemed to care.”
Events took a big turn when Hannah collapsed in severe pain while riding a horse in October 2021.
It was later discovered that Hannah had a melon-sized tumor on her ruptured ovary.
She was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer after being taken to Mercy Hospital for Women in Melbourne, where surgeons removed the 20cm-long tumour.
Hannah said: ‘I was furious, because for over two years I had a recurring urinary tract infection and had to take a lot of antibiotics to treat it.
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed in almost 7,500 women in the UK each year, claiming the lives of 4,200.
The risk of diagnosis increases sharply from middle age, with most women being diagnosed after menopause.
But about 1,000 women under the age of 50 are still diagnosed every year, which is why it’s important that younger women still know the symptoms, Ovarian cancer target speak.
Only 35% of patients in the UK live at least 10 years before being diagnosed.
Fight for life alone
Despite undergoing emergency surgery to remove the ruptured tumor, Hannah’s chances of recovery are high.
She said: ‘Due to the size of the tumor and the fact that it has ruptured I am having chemotherapy.
“But I’m lucky that my prognosis is good because many people in my situation are not.”
Hannah was facing life-saving chemotherapy in Australia without her family, as they were unable to make the trip due to Covid travel restrictions.
She is planning a “new life” Down Under, has studied veterinary medicine at Canterbury College, and has planned to visit her family every year.
Hannah said: “Unfortunately, Covid threw a wrench in the works and then I received this horrifying diagnosis last October.
“The last time I saw my parents and brother was when I said goodbye to them at the airport for a trip to Australia almost three years ago, so it was extremely difficult for all of us.
“I’ve had great support from my friends in Australia, including my boyfriend Kyall, as well as many of my friends back home, who have all been amazing.
“It was extremely difficult for them because all they wanted to do was hop on a plane to be with me but they weren’t allowed to.”
While Hannah’s health insurance was covering the cost of her treatment, her friends set up a GoFundMe to raise money for expenses like gas to and from the station, and general living expenses while she’s not working.
Hannah said: “Everyone has been so supportive of me for that I am so grateful.
“And as soon as I’m well enough, I’ll fly home for what is sure to be a very emotional reunion.”
Hannah hopes her story will help other women voice their concerns, even if their doctors think otherwise.
The main symptom of ovarian cancer is persistent bloating.
Feeling full quickly, pelvic or abdominal pain, and urinary problems are also signs, in addition to general cancer symptoms of weight loss, fatigue, and changes in bowel habits.
https://www.thesun.ie/health/8261788/docs-lose-weight-but-symptoms-ovarian-cancer-miles-home/ I was supposed to ‘lose weight’ to cure my fatigue but now I’m fighting for my life 10,500 miles from home