“I didn’t think ovarian cancer was a possibility for someone my age”

24-year-old Jessica Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer called dysgerminoma in May 2021, here she tells her story.

"The first symptom I noticed was tiredness. I’d just taken up beach volleyball and thought I was feeling extra tired because of this. I started to lose weight really quickly, which I put down to increasing my exercise, and I thought the lump that was appearing in my abdomen was just my normal body shape that was becoming more prominent as I lost weight.

Jess Brown on holiday

"You always hear things about checking your breasts for lumps but not really anywhere else, so I didn’t even consider that this could be a tumour. Not knowing the signs of ovarian cancer, I didn’t think that it was even a possibility for someone my age.

"I went to the doctors after one particularly bad weekend of being sick and my GP told me to get to A&E because my kidneys were failing. They found the mass in my abdomen and did a biopsy. The results came back a week later and I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Treatment at The Royal Marsden

"I was put under the care of Mr John Butler and Dr Angela George at The Royal Marsden. I was told that because I had such a rare form of this ovarian cancer, there would hopefully be an 80-90% chance that it could be treated. I went into survival mode and focused on the treatment needed.

"I had three cycles of chemotherapy followed by a laparotomy surgery performed by Mr Butler. He took out my affected ovary, a fallopian tube and some lymph nodes. The week after my surgery was probably the toughest of my life. After surgery, I had one final round of chemotherapy before all my treatment was complete.

"Awareness around gynaecological cancers, particularly in young women, is so low. My advice to other people is to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, please get it checked out.

Jess Brown
Getting the all-clear

"I got the all-clear in October at my final treatment scan, which was an amazing feeling. I’m so looking forward to getting my life back on track. I love being active and enjoy swimming, rock climbing and socialising with friends, and I have already managed to walk up a mountain in Scotland!

"I’m so thankful to The Royal Marsden and all the people who cared for me. I was treated so quickly and to such an amazing standard that I’m now confident I can go and live a normal life again.

I would really encourage everyone to get behind charities and funding research into ovarian cancer as the difference they are making is having a life changing effect for people like me.

With your support, we can continue to help more people like Jessica through The Royal Marsden's life-saving research