Ovarian cancer fight

Event organisers and participants Lynette Eaton, Palma Calanna, Julie Ranford, Meisha Warren and Lisa Rossi. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au   d435702
Event organisers and participants Lynette Eaton, Palma Calanna, Julie Ranford, Meisha Warren and Lisa Rossi. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d435702

For many however, the reality was already quite clear.

According to the Cancer Council, ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in Australian women.

While it is not as prevalent as others, there are no proven screening tests, symptoms are often non-specific, and the cause is unknown.

It is a disease Julie Ranford knows all too well.

Ms Ranford was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in September and never thought she would live to celebrate her 40th wedding anniversary.

Today, the Thornlie resident has just four weeks of chemotherapy left and is readying herself to mark the milestone with her husband and family while on holiday in Singapore.

Ms Ranford (58) was diagnosed with the disease, which kills about 1000 women each year, after heading to the GP with what she thought were hernia symptoms.

She was told treatment for the cancer, which had gone on to riddle most of her body, would only sustain her life, not eliminate the disease.

There would be no operation and the outlook was so dire she was offered a payout on her superannuation.

�The doctors filled out the form telling me how long I could expect to live but I never wanted to see it,� she said.

Ms Ranford took the option to undergo chemotherapy, but also turned to alternative therapy and an alkaline diet in a bid to do more.

Amazingly, two months of treatment later and surgery, for the first time, became an option.

Ms Ranford grasped the chance with both hands, undergoing surgery in late December to remove the tumour, her reproductive organs, appendix and fat lining in her stomach.

Three months after surgery, she remains hopeful the worst is behind her.

�After the operation, the surgical oncologist said that in 60 per cent of cases the cancer returns within two years,� she said.

�I�m still undergoing treatment but I�m being positive.

�I don�t talk about it much, I don�t want to jinx myself, but I want to let women know that they don�t have to accept a diagnosis.

�Fight to the end and look at all your options.�

Ms Ranford�s story, and others like it, are the reason a group of Perth women have banded together to hold a fundraiser in Bibra Lake on April 17.

Event co-ordinator Palma Calanna said the Pamper Project, to raise money for Ovarian Cancer Australia, would include a fashion show, demonstrations and plenty of fun.

�Each of us knows someone who has been impacted by this disease or touched by it in some way, so we wanted to do something to help,� she said.