India What cancer were you diagnosed with? Ovarian Cancer What age were you diagnosed? 24 What has helped you to thrive? The never ending support from my family and friends, and then always clinging on to hope! India's Story I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in April 2018. I was actually on holiday at the time and my abdomen had become increasingly swollen and painful during the week. But having been told by a doctor the day I left the UK that it was just constipation I did my best not to make a fuss and push on with all the things I wanted to do. That’s how I ended up half way through a flying trapeze class when I was finally in such agony that I could barely move and had to go to the emergency room. Here began the endless scans, tests and needles leading to surgery to remove the 27cm mass on my left ovary as well as a few other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure. Within the space of 48 hours I had gone from being a perfectly healthy 24 year old to the new surreal reality of an Ovarian Cancer diagnosis. At the time we were told they’d removed all visible disease but that I should have 3 rounds of chemotherapy just in case. The problem being that my form of Ovarian Cancer is particularly rare, so there is a huge lack of research into treatment options. The few small trials that have been done led my oncologist to put me on a CarboTaxol chemotherapy regime with a 20% chance that it might have an effect if there was any cancer remaining. In July I finished treatment and had two blissful weeks of freedom until an unnerving scan and then weeks of symptoms slowly starting to build up again. By September it was confirmed that I would need more surgery and was sent to see a specialist in Basingstoke as the radical surgery I required wasn’t able to be performed by my team in London. The surgery went ahead on 1st October and lasted 9 hours. They removed my remaining ovary, omentum and entire peritoneum and then filled my abdominal cavity with what they described as a bath of chemotherapy, before draining it out and sewing me back up. I then spent 6 days in the ICU and a further 2 weeks in hospital, which were easily the most gruelling and horrendous days of my life. With such an extensive surgery the aim is to cure you of all disease, but sadly about a month after leaving hospital the fluid in my abdomen started to build back up, a sign that the cancer had returned. At this point my oncologist was very honest with me and said that they don’t currently have any treatment options available proven to work for my type of cancer. So the best option would be to try a treatment regime usually used in HER2 positive breast cancer in the hope that it may be just as effective on my strongly HER2 expressing, mucinous ovarian cancer. So that’s what I’m on now, a combination of two targeted drugs (Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab) alongside the chemotherapy drug Pacitaxel. So far it seems to be working, I think slightly to everyone’s surprise, and I’ll now remain on the two targeted drugs for as long as they continue to work, how long that will be no one seems too sure about. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a very long time!