Ovarian cancer diagnosis a threat to motherhood
WOMEN in their early 20s are not supposed to be booking appointments with fertility doctors.
But for 25-year-old Jessica Taylor, ovarian cancer has meant the prospect of having children has been at the front of her mind for the last four years.
When she was 22, she had her right ovary and fallopian tube removed.
And by all indications that followed, she was cancer-free.
But on Christmas Eve, she was told that a cyst had been discovered on her remaining ovary.
It was devastating news for the young woman who has always wanted to be a mother.
"The hardest part so far would have to be seeing my family struggle to cope with me getting so sick," Ms Taylor said.
"I put on my brave face, when really I am so scared, in the hope that they are okay with what I am going through."
Ms Taylor is delaying the surgery that will remove her left ovary and fallopian tube - that is until she is able to preserve some of her eggs.
But, she now has to hope that no additional cysts grow or develop in that time.
"If another cyst has grown on my ovary before I start the fertility treatment I won't be able to do it," she said.
"I'll have to go straight for surgery to remove my ovary."
The surgery will leave another scar on the other side of her body.
That will then be followed by rounds of aggressive chemotherapy.
"If I knew the symptoms of ovarian cancer I would have asked to be tested for it earlier," she said.
"I didn't know the symptoms until I was diagnosed and looking back, I had the majority of the symptoms and didn't even know."
Now Ms Taylor is pleading with other women to know the symptoms, know their bodies and take the necessary action to look after their health.
February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and today is World Cancer Day, an international day of action in the fight against cancer.