Advising with empathy and experience

Tragic self diagnosis of young woman.

A young woman with stomach pains who typed her symptoms into Google and found she had eight out of the nine signs of ovarian cancer was diagnosed with terminal cancer six months later - when doctors found she had a tumour the size of a melon.

University graduate Sadie Rance had been told her stomach pains and constipation were due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when she returned from travelling Australia with her boyfriend Jason.

But as the then 22-year-old's suffering worsened, she turned to the internet search engine for answers and discovered her symptoms coincided with nearly all the signs of ovarian cancer.

She requested more tests and, in September 2013, was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and doctors found a tumour the size of a melon in her stomach.

Doctors could not operate because the tumour had attached itself to Sadie's internal organs and the advanced cancer had spread to her small bowel, liver, diaphragm, heart and lungs. Sadie has been told she has one to two years to live.

It was not until the couple returned to the UK in May 2013 that she went to see her GP - by which time she had not been to the toilet for five weeks.  Sadie was told it was IBS and prescribed laxatives, but this was just the start of four months of agony.

She returned to the surgery five times in four months as the pain became so unbearable she would double over in agony and could stand for only a few minutes.

Miss Rance said: "When my symptoms began in Australia, I put it down to the water or the change in diet. But it was getting worse and worse and I was feeling so awful. I had two ultra sounds and some blood tests, but nothing was picked up.

"By the time I flew home to the UK, I hadn't been to the toilet in five weeks. In the end I said to my GP: 'I'm not leaving here until you look at me and tell me I need to go to hospital'.  I couldn't take any more, I felt horrific and I couldn't even go to the supermarket without needing to sit down after five minutes because I was in so much agony.

"I had really bad pain in my stomach and when the doctors finally said it could be ovarian or bowel cancer, I thought it all made sense.“

Sadie and Jason have raised more than £35,000 for the gynaecological unit of the Royal Marsden and they are also raising money for Teens Unite Fighting Cancer.