Girl, 23, makes amazing recovery after surgeons remove tumour the size of two grapefruits
Having cancer put my life into perspective, says student
16:00 GMT, 23 April 2012
A brave student told of her miraculous recovery after surgeons removed a tumour the size of two grapefruits.
April Moss, 23, was diagnosed with a rare ovarian cancer aged 19 after suffering various pains for around a year.
The student from Plymouth, felt bloated and
light-headed for around a year before she eventually went to a GP
surgery in her first year of University. She also noticed her stomach felt hard and toned despite not exercising.
April Moss in 2009, left, with a swollen stomach. She assumed she was overweight but actually had a huge ovarian tumour. Pictured right, today
A nurse checked April over and sent her to Croydon University Hospital where she was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell cancer. She was then transferred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea for specialist treatment.
Two days before her 20th birthday, she underwent a major operation in which surgeons removed her left ovary, and the tumour, which had swollen to the size of two grapefruits.
She said: 'The word ‘lump’ was used, it scared the life out of me. I should have gone earlier. It could have spread. It’s a miracle that I was all right in the end.
'I still don’t know whether there was anything I could have done to prevent it, or how long It had been there.
'From this experience I’ve learned you never know what’s going to happen. It puts life into perspective.
'My family were really supportive, they love me to bits and they were always by my side every step of the way.
'It all happened really quickly. I had an emergency appointment and from that they booked me in a week later to have the operation.
'As much as I was scared and terrified and the unknown is a scary thing, I am a positive person and I don’t look anywhere for pity.
'I try to be as constructive as I can and I always tried to think of ways to beat it which I eventually did.
The biggest shock was when the nurse told me that nine out of ten people have chemotherapy, however luckily I was one of those ten who didn’t need it because the cancer didn’t spread.'
Now in remission April is finishing her degree in humanities at Plymouth University. She is now urging other women to be aware of the disease’s symptoms and to visit their doctor immediately if they have concerns.
Ovarian cancer cannot be detected by a cervical smear test and around 18 women diagnosed with the cancer each day in the UK.
If the disease is found in the early stages, up to 90 per cent of women will survive for more than five years. However, most women in the UK are not diagnosed until it has already spread.
Symptoms include persistent stomach pain, persistent bloating or increased stomach size, difficulty eating, feeling full quickly or needing to urinate more frequently.
Occasionally other symptoms include extreme fatigue, changed in bowel habit, or back pain.
April is now raising awareness of the condition by supporting Ovarian Cancer Action.