Ovarian cancer survivor gets behind cancer research

Posted 4 Feb 2022.

Kirsty (right) and family.


A Perth woman is encouraging West Australians to donate to Cancer Research Giving Day, following her shock ovarian cancer diagnosis in 2010 while pregnant with her first baby.

Booragoon resident, Kirsty Barnetson, said she put her overwhelming tiredness down to being eight weeks pregnant and having a lot happening at the time.

"I was working two jobs and really long hours, I was looking after two children, we were organising the wedding and we were renovating our house, so I was constantly tired," Ms Barnetson said.

"So when some routine scans at eight weeks revealed I had stage one ovarian cancer it was a huge shock."

At 11 weeks pregnant, Kirsty had surgery to remove her left ovary and began chemotherapy.

But at 26 weeks her health began to deteriorate as did the health of their little baby boy Ryan, so they made the difficult decision go through with a caesarean.

"On 13 February 2011, our darling Ryan was born weighing a tiny 475 grams but sadly passed away 39 hours later," she said.

"I know the statistics on ovarian cancer are not good and if I had not been pregnant, there would be no reason to have any tests.

"We wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation today. Ryan saved my life, and the sad thing is we couldn't save his life."

Our CEO Ashley Reid said less than half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Western Australia survive longer than five years after their diagnosis.

"Due to the lack of symptoms, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed in the late stages and even after an initially positive response to treatment the cancer can later become resistant to the treatment," Mr Reid said.

"This is why more research is urgently needed.

"Research is important because it provides the vital research link between scientific laboratory discoveries and the availability of new treatments for cancer patients.

"Cancer research can deliver real hope for cancer patients who can face limited treatment options.

"Every day, 36 West Australians hear the words ‘you have cancer'.

"Community donations will help local researchers turn laboratory discoveries into new and better treatments that can help save lives, so we encourage the WA community to get behind our Cancer Research Giving Day today on World Cancer Day and donate to life saving cancer research."

To make a donation visit charidy.com/cancercouncilwa, or call 08 9212 4333

Every dollar donated before 9pm (4 February 2022), will be matched by a group of generous donors so a $1 donation will translate to $2 for local cancer research.


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