Jewish Health

Karen - Interview 30

Age at interview: 48

Brief outline: Karen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had a full hysterectomy between chemotherapy sessions. Now in remission, Karen has discovered she carries the BRCA1 mutation.

Background: Karen is a barber. She is divorced and has 2 grown up children. Ethnic background/nationality: White Caucasian

Audio & video

 Karen started to feel unwell a year ago and was given tablets to stop her needing the toilet all the time. After an operation for a prolapse, Karen started to feel worse and she was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes, right lung and diaphragm. The treatment was four sets of chemotherapy, followed by a full hysterectomy and two further sets of chemo. Karen is now in remission and describes how she was determined to get rid of the cancer by remaining strong and positive throughout the treatment process.

Since then, Karen has found out she has the mutation 2 on the BRCA1 gene, by taking part in the GCapp study. Karen was pleased to find this out as she now knows she has a higher risk of breast cancer and ‘forewarned is forearmed’. She is also pleased that her daughters will be able to be tested and monitored more closely in the future. Karen strongly advises women to follow up on any vague symptoms that could be related to ovarian cancer including a loss of appetite and unusual bowel habits.


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