Teal Ribbon Day: Raising awareness for ovarian cancer

Each year in Australia around 1815 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In most cases the cancer will be diagnosed at an advanced stage, where it is very difficult to treat.

To help raise awareness for ovarian cancer, Cartherics hosted a Teal Ribbon Day afternoon tea. Our Teal Tea provided a great opportunity to bring people together to share knowledge and stories.

We were delighted to be joined by Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) ambassador, Candice Hung, who shared her journey with us.

Despite having her own lived experience with ovarian cancer, Candice Hung feels extremely blessed. The Melbourne leadership coach and mother of two is one of the rare few who had their ovarian cancer detected early, by complete chance.

In 2017, Candice and her husband Andy were undergoing fertility treatment to deal with secondary infertility – a condition where Candice was unable to become pregnant after previously giving birth to their daughter, Misia, in 2011. During a routine scan as part of treatment, doctors noticed something strange. A subsequent MRI scan incorrectly showed there was nothing to be concerned about.

Candice decided to proceed with laparoscopic surgery to help her conceive and this is when her surgeon ‘accidentally’ found a rare type of ovarian cancer. The diagnosis was a shock, but before long, the now OCRF Ambassador realised that she was one of the lucky ones.

Early diagnosis and the fact that the cancer hadn’t spread meant Candice only lost one ovary and did not need additional treatment like radiotherapy or chemotherapy. After recovering, she became pregnant naturally with her son Micah, now three.

“Eight months later, my whole body had reset,” Candice says. “If we hadn’t pursued having another baby, they would not have discovered the tumour, and I may not be here today. Micah literally saved my life.”

Candice, now 43, knows that her cancer could have easily gone undetected. She had no obvious symptoms, and her family had no history of ovarian cancer. About 70 per cent of women diagnosed are at an advanced stage. Sadly only 29 per cent of them survive beyond five years.

There is no doubt that there is a desperate need for new treatment options for patients with ovarian cancer. Thanks to Candice for sharing her journey with us – an inspiration to us all to continue to work hard to find new treatment options for this disease.