A young woman, who was shocked after being told by doctors she was pregnant, was devastated after her supposed pregnancy symptoms were instead due to ovarian cancer.
Laura Langdon, from Melbourne, just celebrated her 21st birthday months before she experienced abdominal pain and bloating. But living as a healthy young woman, it didn’t worry her.
“I assumed it was just period pain, or that maybe my tummy didn’t like something that I’d eaten,” she recalled. “But I became more concerned as the pain and bloating became more and more persistent.”
Leading a busy life, Ms Langdon, now 23, said she didn’t have time to have it checked until one night when she broke out in a rash after eating dinner. “One of the causes of pain and bloating that I’d read about during my ‘googling’ was coeliac disease, and I recalled that rashes were another symptom too, so I thought I’d better go and get myself checked,” she told FEMAIL.
Ms Langdon said that the doctors found out that she was very bloated so they told her to get a blood test.
However, days later, she was shocked when the results showed she was pregnant. She said there was ‘absolutely no chance’ she could be pregnant, but was given the explanation that it was a false positive.
“‘[The doctor] said that an ultrasound was not necessary given my age, but that I could have another blood test in three weeks’ time to make sure everything was back to normal by then,” Ms Langdon said.
One morning, she said she woke up with an excruciating pain in her left side that even a little movement would cause her too much pain, and so she went to see another doctor to get a second opinion.
But, suprisingly, another blood test showed that she was pregnant. “This doctor couldn’t explain my symptoms either,” she said, adding that she was advised to get an ultrasound, a blood test, and a urine test.
During the ultrasound, Ms Langdon said she was both ‘frustrated and terrified’ when she was told by the sonographer to go back to her doctor and to ‘take someone with you’.
There, she learned that she had an 18cm tumour on her ovary.
“I struggled to believe it. I thought there must’ve been a mistake,” Ms Langdon recalled.
A week after her ultrasound, she had surgery, and after four days, the pathology results showed that she indeed has ovarian cancer. “It all happened very quickly,” she said.
Ms Langdon then underwent three months of chemotherapy, and now, she goes for frequent medical check-ups to ensure the cancer hasn’t come back.
“Life doesn’t go back to normal after cancer. I found it really difficult to accept and come to terms with that for a long time,” she said. “It’s been almost two years since my diagnosis. I still think about cancer every single day.”
Now, Ms Langdon has shared her story to tell people to be attuned with your bodies and know what is happening with yourself.
“Doctors may be experts of medicine, but you are the expert of your own body. If you feel that something is not right, no one can tell you otherwise – no one else can tell you what or how you feel,” she said.
She added that although ovarian cancer is most common in women over the age of 50 or those who have stopped menstruating, young women with symptoms should be checked.
“Since meeting other people my age through various youth cancer organisations, I’ve learned that misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are scarily common – because ‘young people don’t get cancer’.
“It’s the same situation with ovarian cancer too because the symptoms are so non-specific, and it’s not a particularly common disease.
“It may be rare, but it still happens. And it can happen to anyone,” she said.