Ovarian cancer sufferer Mel Ensbey, left, and friend Katie Martin, from Alstonville, will host a charity bowls day on Sunday at the Alstonville bowling club.
Ovarian cancer sufferer Mel Ensbey, left, and friend Katie Martin, from Alstonville, will host a charity bowls day on Sunday at the Alstonville bowling club. Cathy Adams

Bowls helps fund cancer treatment

AFTER 12 cycles of chemotherapy, 13 operations and six years of symptoms, Mel Ensbey is tired of ‘getting stuffed around’.

The 26-year-old Alstonville woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006 after her symptoms were ignored by 10 GPs.

The Southern Cross University graduate says she is fed up with the lack of quality treatment in Australia and hopes the barefoot bowls charity day at the Alstonville Bowling Club will help her raise enough money for treatment in United States estimated to cost around $15, 000 a month.

“I just got sick of the medical treatment I was receiving and I kept getting stuffed,” Ms Ensbey said.

“I heard about this clinical treatment in the US and I thought I have to fight for a cure. I’m only 26.

“The US has drugs and clinical treatment that is not available in Australia as its all invasive treatment here. If we had half of the treatment available overseas the 80 per cent death rate for ovarian cancer wouldn’t be so high.”

Ms Ensbey first felt the symptoms of abdominal bloating, irregular periods, fatigue and unexplained weight gain in 2004 but was not diagnosed with ovarian cancer until two years later.

After seeing ‘10 GPs’ it was not until her nutritionist pushed to get her a referral that her diagnosis was confirmed.

Ms Ensbey believes awareness about ovarian cancer is a major issue in getting women and the community to realise the severity of the disease and the symptoms.

“One person dies every 11 minutes from this disease and I wouldn’t really call this rare,” she said.

“It’s not fair that we have an 80pc death rate yet we only get 10pc of funding through the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

“Women need to be aware of the symptoms and need to be their own advocate. Go straight to a gynaecologist and get a referral.

“It is so hard to go and live your own life and know everything is going to be OK when you keep getting false tests.

“I just finished a teaching degree and I want to start teaching but I can’t.”

The barefoot Bowls charity day is on tomorrow between 10am-5pm. Entry is $10 with children under 12 free.

Apart from lawn bowls there will be a sausage sizzle, raffles, live music, face painting and a chocolate wheel.

One in 70 women will develop ovarian cancer before age 85.

The overall survival rate after five years is around 42pc.

Ovarian cancer is the sixth most frequent cause of death for women in Australia

It is projected ovarian cancer deaths will rise from 850 to 1645 in 2011.

Source: Ovarian Cancer Australia



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