Ovarian cancer: 'Every woman should be aware of the signs, as it could be a matter of life or death'
Carol Bareham, who is fighting ovarian cancer, has warned women of the importance of staying alert.
The 43-year-old from Larne said she feels lucky to have been diagnosed so quickly as her symptoms could have been dismissed as a tummy bug.
"I struck gold because a GP decided to take it seriously and probe all the right places," she said.
"It's so easy to assume it's something else and unfortunately a lot of women get fobbed off - awareness is vital.
"Every woman should be aware of the signs because it really will make the difference between life and death." The mum-of-two was diagnosed with stage three cancer in September 2015, two months after returning from a family holiday to Egypt.
"I went to my GP when I got home but it was on my second visit that a locum doctor decided to test me," she explained.
"I'm still here thanks to that young doctor."
The school science technician began chemotherapy and underwent major surgery, and was optimistic about beating the disease.
But she was left devastated earlier this year when the symptoms returned and a scan showed the tumours were back. "I'm incurable, but I'm still treatable. Regardless of how effective the chemo is, I will always have anxiety hanging over me as I wait on this cancer rearing its ugly head again," Carol said.
"I never thought I would get cancer, but the treatment is working and the tumours are shrinking."
She said her husband Neil (53) and children Thea (15) and Elliot (13) provide her with the motivation she needs to keep fighting the disease.
She added: "I make the most of my good days by having as much fun as possible with my family."