A MUM-of-two is raising awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer after missing them herself when she had the illness.
Dawn Baxter is taking part in Ovacome’s Teal Tips campaign this month to educate women about the signs of ovarian cancer.
Looking back I did have definite signs of a disease which is wrongly named the silent killer as there are symptoms.Dawn Baxter
The 51-year-old teaching assistant was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in January 2014 but had no idea her symptoms – a loss of appetite and abdominal pain – were anything serious.
Instead, Dawn, from Clanfield, thought her symptoms were due to a new diet and because she was approaching the menopause.
She said: ‘I had changed my diet a bit and had lost a stone-and-a-half over a few months.
‘I couldn’t really understand it as although I was eating smaller portions, I wasn’t really doing enough to lose the weight that I was seeing. I’d also been taking hormone tablets and thought maybe the abdominal pain was because of this.’
Dawn, who teaches at Clanfield Junior School, then saw her stomach balloon over a weekend as a result of her tumour. Her GP recognised the symptom and referred her for an ultrasound.
After two rounds of chemotherapy, surgery and spending eight months on medication, Dawn is now dealing with a recurrence of the disease.
But she is determined to share her story during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this month to empower other women.
She is fronting Ovacome’s #TealTips social media campaign in which she is encouraging women to join her in painting their nails that colour as a conversation starter about the disease.
Dawn will also to be one of a dozen models dealing with an ovarian cancer diagnosis who are taking to the catwalk in a glitzy London fashion show for the annual fundraising Tea With Ovacome event.
Dawn said: ‘All of this is out of my comfort zone as I’m not very outward going.
‘But being able to take centre stage on a subject which is so important gives me an incredible buzz.
‘If you look at me I don’t seem unwell and if my story can resonate with just one woman who does not know that she has ovarian cancer and gets checked out I will be delighted.
‘Looking back I did have definite signs of a disease which is wrongly named the silent killer as there are symptoms. It is just knowing what to look out for.’
The main symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, eating less but feeling full and abdominal pain.