From palliative care to remission: Ovarian cancer survivor promotes awareness


Palma Calanna, Tiana Rogato, Julie Ranford and Pia Mignacca are holding an |afternoon tea.  Picture: Will Russell        www.communitypix.com.au   d464545
Palma Calanna, Tiana Rogato, Julie Ranford and Pia Mignacca are holding an |afternoon tea. Picture: Will Russell        www.communitypix.com.au d464545

JULIE Ranford does not know how long she had ovarian cancer before she was diagnosed and prescribed palliative chemotherapy.

In September 2014, when a CT scan showed the cancer in her lymphatic system, spleen and close to her lungs, a radical hysterectomy was not an option, only palliative care.

“I thought I’d just start chemo and have a hysterectomy and be on my way, but I was told I would only be offered palliative chemo,” Mrs Ranford said.

“I went home and my family fell apart.”

Mrs Ranford – then 57 years old – began decluttering and cleaning up her home, taking up naturopathic remedies and switching to an alkaline diet alongside her chemotherapy and her participation in a drug trial.

By the end of October a blood test showed her cancer rating was in rapid decline.

“I was getting remarkable blood |results,” Mrs Ranford said.

“My cancer marker was 984 and within a couple of months it had gone down by half and my doctor said it was miraculous.”

She was sent for a radical hysterectomy in December, resumed chemotherapy and the drug in January and by May 2015, she was in remission.

Today her cancer marker is 4.

“It feels like a dream, it feels like ‘did that happen to me?’

“It was a whirlwind and all happened so fast,” Mrs Ranford said.

Mrs Ranford hopes her story will|mobilise women in Australia to help raise funds for early detection. Ovarian cancer is a notorious “sleeper cancer”, regularly going undiagnosed due to its insidious symptoms such as tiredness and bloating.

“I hope women know the signs of ovarian cancer. Know your body and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for a check-up,” she said.

“At the moment there is no early |detection, nothing.

“The only way they can check is with an internal ultrasound and unless you have a family history, doctors are reluctant to do it.”

On February 11, Mrs Ranford will be the guest speaker at the Unique Events-run ovarian cancer fundraiser at Nicholson’s Bar and Grill in Canning Vale.