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A hairdresser has spoken out after she thought her weight loss and period troubles was due to stress – but it was in fact a rare ovarian cancer.
Sarah Burns, who works as a hairstylist in Knutsford, started to show symptoms in December 2019.
She said she began to experience bleeding in between her periods, her cycle also became shorter and she began to lose weight.
Sarah put those things down to stress – but her ‘gut’ was telling to go to the doctors.
“My story begins in December 2019 when I started to experience bleeding in between my periods and my cycle became shorter and I had started to lose weight,” she told CheshireLive.
“I initially put it down to stress but my gut was telling me to go to the doctors.
“The doctor ran a full set of bloods and arranged an ultrasound ‘just in case its cancer’.
“To be honest I didn’t think that was even a remote possibility; I was young, fit and ate well.
“Now, months after my diagnosis I will be eternally grateful for that particular doctor for her swift action as I know for many women that is normally not the case leading to a late diagnosis.”
Eight months after her symptoms started, Sarah was diagnosed with Mucinous Ovarian Cancer (MOC) in August 2020, aged just 25.
Sarah endured more than a year of tests, treatment and surgery including an ultrasound which found a 10cm mass on her left ovary.
She was then told by doctors that she had the rare ovarian cancer.
After being delivered the heartbreaking news, Sarah had to undergo further surgery to remove her left ovary and fallopian tube to ensure the disease had not spread outside the pelvis.
Sarah is now clear of the cancer, however lives with the fear of it returning.
The hairdresser has also undergone two rounds of IVF to save eggs and has for now opted against chemotherapy, as that would end her hopes of having children naturally and also it does not work as well against MOC.
The hairstylist was also forced to take almost a year off work and is delighted to have returned and thanked her employers and colleagues for the ‘fantastic support’ she had received.
It is estimated that there are only around 200 diagnoses a year in the UK of MOC and there is no active research or clinical trials.
But this is something Sarah is determined to change.
The hairdresser has launched her own fund-raising campaign for urgently needed research into the disease in a bid to help other women like her.
Sarah launched The MOC Project, an initiative dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the UK’s first research into the cancer.
She said her goal is to get the scientific community interested in researching the cancer and raise the necessary funds to get work underway.
“I am extremely passionate about this and refuse to wait around to see if my cancer returns and I get the same grim prognosis five years down the line,” Sarah said.
“I am determined to make the change for women like me. Ovarian cancer does not discriminate and can affect women of all ages.”
There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer, and it is often misdiagnosed resulting in only 15 percent of patients being diagnosed at Stage 1 when it is most treatable.
Sarah added: “It is so important to advocate for your own health. This is me taking control of my situation and doing something about it, sometimes it’s hard, but I will not let it win.”
She has already raised £7,500, despite the pandemic forcing the cancellation of a sponsored London-Paris bike ride, and has a special ticketed event later this month where she aims to double that amount.
She is finalising plans for the August 21 fund-raising day with food, games, drag acts and DJ at the John Alker Club in Flixton, Manchester.
“I hope that ovarian cancer will follow in the footsteps of breast cancer and receive much-needed funding to start saving women’s lives,” Sarah said.
“I am hoping we can gain momentum with the campaign so that a UK gynaecological charity will support the grant as there is a massive inequality in ovarian cancer funding and it seems as if MOC has just been forgotten about.
“I hope someone will come along and be interested in researching treatment options because they are very limited at present.”
Since telling her story on social media and launching the fundraising, Sarah has been contacted by other sufferers in the UK and across the world and she hopes the project can be a source of support for women in a similar position.
She also urged all women to seek early medical advice if they suspected something was not right.
To donate to Sarah’s fundraising page, please click here .
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This content was originally published here.