Josie Davoren, 50, is recovering from an eight-hour surgery at Gold Coast University Hospital to remove cancers following a reoccurrence of her ovarian cancer. Picture Glenn Hampson
Josie Davoren, 50, is recovering from an eight-hour surgery at Gold Coast University Hospital to remove cancers following a reoccurrence of her ovarian cancer. Picture Glenn Hampson

Mum’s emotional warning as she fights for life

 

JOSIE Davoren is no stranger to fighting the most lethal women's cancer - this is her second battle with ovarian cancer in just two years.

But the gutsy 50-year-old from Banora Point has plenty of fight in her and is passionate about wanting to share her journey to warn other women.

"If I can just help at least one woman from going through this then that would be just wonderful," she said.

"If something doesn't feel quite right or if you're not sure about something, even just a small lump, then get it checked out because the sooner they can detect it the better the outcome will be," she said.

Speaking from her hospital bed just three days after an eight-hour debulking surgery to rid her body of cancer, Ms Davoren initially attributed the early signs of her ovarian cancer to onset of menopause.

"In the beginning I was 49 and just thought I was going through the change of life. I have always eaten very good food and did a reasonable amount of exercise but I was getting a round pot belly tummy," she said.

The divorcee stepped up her exercise by doing a bit more walking and reduced her calorie intake but still noticed bloating and thought she might have irritable bowel syndrome.

"Then on my right-hand side I found a lump in my pelvic area, so I went to my GP who sent me away for scans," she said.

Following investigative surgery doctors found she had stage 2 cancer and scheduled surgery in July, 2018 to remove it. This included having a full hysterectomy and the removal of her fallopian tubes, ovaries and appendix.

Josie Davoren is warning women to get their health checks done, especially if something doesn't feel right. Picture Glenn Hampson
Josie Davoren is warning women to get their health checks done, especially if something doesn't feel right. Picture Glenn Hampson

After six rounds of chemotherapy at Tweed Heads she lost her hair, her sense of taste but felt positive she had kicked the deadly disease to the kerb.

"Everyone kept saying we've got it all and you've had your chemotherapy so I was quite positive about it," she said.

Follow-up scans were clear until November last year when a PET scan had an anomaly and "came up with bright spots".

Ms Davoren's specialist at the Gold Coast University Hospital said her cancer had spread to her bowel and diaphragm and on Friday she underwent a gruelling eight-hour debulking surgery to remove bits of cancer from her pelvic area to her breastbone.

Gold Coast University Hospital. Picture Glenn Hampson
Gold Coast University Hospital. Picture Glenn Hampson

She's not out of the woods yet, with another six rounds of chemotherapy ahead of her and financial worries because she's going to have to take leave without pay to fight her cancer - again.

"Having a reoccurrence was more devastating than my initial diagnosis, I thought I'd beaten it. But I'm a mother of two and I want to see my children grow up and have grandchildren so I'm staying positive," she said.

"I can't but help think that perhaps if I'd gone to have a pap smear earlier, where they also check your abdomen, it might have made a difference."

Josie Davoren is battling a reoccurrence of her ovarian cancer and is warning women to listen to their bodies. Picture Glenn Hampson
Josie Davoren is battling a reoccurrence of her ovarian cancer and is warning women to listen to their bodies. Picture Glenn Hampson

Every year more than 1500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 1000 will die. Only 46 per cent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will survive five years post diagnosis.

Today is Teal Ribbon Day, the flagship day of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and this year the organisation is holding its first matched giving day whereby every donation received today at ovarinacancer.net.au will be tripled by partners and major donors.

 



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