Family’s warning over ‘silent killer’

Rachel Galashan and David Greenwood donate �580 to the Macmillan Unit, Calderdale Royal Hospital.
Rachel Galashan and David Greenwood donate �580 to the Macmillan Unit, Calderdale Royal Hospital.

A grieving family has warned women to be aware of the signs of ‘silent killer’ ovarian cancer - which claimed the life of Christine Greenwood just two months after diagnosis.

Mrs Greenwood, a grandmother of four from Heptonstall, died aged 71 last month, after going to the doctors with lower back pain in August.

Christine Greenwood

Christine Greenwood

She was referred for an ultrasound scan which took place a month later, on September 18 - by which time Mrs Greenwood was vomiting frequently and had lost two stone in weight.

Doctors then referred her for a CT scan - but ten days later, while waiting for an appointment, her condition had deteriorated so much an emergency doctor admitted her to hospital.

Tests showed she had terminal stage four cancer. Her family was by her side when she died on October 15.

Mrs Galashan said: “Mum always had back problems. She just thought this one had gone on a bit too long and went to the doctors. Two months and two days later she was dead. Everything happened so quickly.

“She went from being able to walk from the car park to hospital, but two days later couldn’t even get upstairs without stopping three times, struggling to breathe.”

Mrs Galashan said she had no idea of the speed and horror of ovarian cancer: “I knew it was classed as the silent killer but I didn’t know the symptoms.”

She added: “I’d like woman to familiarise themselves with the symptoms and if they have any of them, insist on a tumour marker blood test and an ultrasound scan. My mum didn’t have many symptoms until it was too late.”

She also called for women to be screened from the ages of 40 for the cancer:“Woman should not have to pay for private treatment to be screened for this horrible disease.”

Mrs Galashan and her father David Greenwood this week presented Calderdale Royal Hospital’s Macmillan Unit with £580, raised at Mrs Greenwood’s funeral.

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:

About 7,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK.

The majority of cases are in women aged over 50 years.

Most cases of ovarian cancer are not due to genetic or hereditary factors.

Ovarian cancer is known as a ‘silent killer’. Symptoms include:

Persistent pelvic and abdominal pain.

Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating - not bloating that comes and goes.

Difficulty eating and feeling full quickly.

For more information contact:

Pat Marsden, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist gynaecology nurse, said: “ Ovarian cancer is recognised as one of the most difficult to diagnose yet, as with other cancers, early detection is key to possible successful treatment. “More awareness is needed around this cancer and although this is improving, there is a lot to be done if lives are to be saved.”