- A woman, 24, found out she had ovarian cancer after her stomach pain got so bad she went to the ER.
- Doctors arranged for an ultrasound scan, which found two tumors on Chloe Etheridge’s ovaries.
- Etheridge told SWNS that she “ignored” her pain for months because she didn’t know cancer could cause it.
A 24-year-old who “ignored” her bloating and stomach pain for months was diagnosed with a rare type of ovarian cancer, according to a report.
Chloe Etheridge, from the UK, initially experienced bloating and abdominal pain in December 2021. By April 2022, her stomach pain was so bad she went to the emergency room, she told the South West News Service.
Doctors arranged an ultrasound scan, which found two tumors on her ovaries. One was seven inches long and the other was about four inches long, she told SWNS.
‘I don’t think young women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer’
Three months later on July 11 2022, doctors told Etheridge she had germ-cell ovarian cancer, a rare type of the disease that is typically diagnosed during adolescence, though anyone above the age of one can get it, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center.
Generally, people are diagnosed with ovarian cancer after menopause and it’s rare in people younger than 40 to develop the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. It estimates that 19,710 women in the US will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer in 2023 and about 13,270 women will die from the disease.
Symptoms of germ-cell ovarian cancer, which affects fewer than 1,000 people in the US, include: a pelvic mass, fever, vaginal bleeding, and abdominal pain, GARD states.
Symptoms of other types of ovarian cancer include: pain in the pelvis or back, bloating, and feeling full “too quickly,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other conditions can cause those symptoms but “the only way to know is to see your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional,” the CDC states.
Etheridge told SWNS that she ignored her symptoms because she didn’t realize they could be caused by cancer. “I don’t think young women know the symptoms of ovarian cancer,” she said.
Chemotherapy was ‘brutal’
Treatment of ovarian cancer depends on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, but includes chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and surgery. Etheridge started chemotherapy the day after she was diagnosed, for six months.
“It was incredibly brutal. My chemotherapy had seven different chemical components. The side effects were horrendous, I had nausea, fatigue, hearing loss — I still can’t hear some frequencies now,” she said.
Etheridge had an operation on January 11 to try to remove as much of the tumor as possible.
She told SWNS that the procedure went “really well,” and she is “expected to make a full recovery.”
According to the ACS, germ cell ovarian tumors often have a “good outlook,” with more than 90% of people with the condition living for more than five years after diagnosis.
Etheridge shared her story to raise awareness: “I think for women because we have periods, it is assumed that we are meant to live with pain but that should not be the case.”