How appendicitis revealed Suffolk mum's ovarian cancer

Katy Stephenson

Katy Stephenson from Bury St Edmunds was diagnosed with ovarian cancer by West Suffolk Hospital thanks to a bout of appendicitis - Credit: Katy Stephenson

Mum-of-two Katy Stephenson believes doctors would never have caught her cancer so early if it was not for an appendicitis. 

Last year Katy, who lives in Bury St Edmunds, had the classic symptoms of stage one ovarian cancer, she was getting up in the night to use the toilet a lot, felt bloated, and felt full very quickly. 

Mrs Stephenson went to her GP for answers, who thought it could be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and she carried on working as an associate director at Savills in Ipswich.

Katy Stephenson after treatment for stage one cancer 

Katy Stephenson after treatment for stage one cancer - Credit: Katy Stephenson

Then in December 2020 she was struck down with pain.

"I was having a drink in the garden and I got a pain on my right side at around 9.30pm that carried on through the night," she said.


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Thankfully she could turn to her GP-father, who told her to go straight to West Suffolk Hospital A&E. 

The 46-year-old waited for four hours in A&E where doctors found she had an appendicitis and through scans they identified issues with her fallopian tube and ovaries. 

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In January, she was diagnosed with stage one ovarian cancer by specialists at West Suffolk Hospital but opted for private care at Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital to get her operation quicker. 

"I was very scared," she said. "I was very ill, in and out of consciousness and drugged up on morphine. 

"I was dealt with very quickly [at West Suffolk Hospital] I think they did everything they could."

She reflects now that it has changed her life as she went from "a bit of a control freak" to someone who has to completely slow down. 

"I release control and accept life as it happens," she added. 

Now in the clear after receiving a cancer-free test, Mrs Stephenson wants to raise awareness of this disease which sees 7,400 women diagnosed in the UK each year, according to Target Ovarian Cancer. 

One in five women when diagnosed will be too ill for treatment, the charity adds, meaning early detection is key.  

Patrick Stephenson with Tilly, 12 and Jack, 15

Patrick Stephenson with Tilly, 12 and Jack, 15 - Credit: Katy Stephenson

She will have a stand in the Arc in Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday, July  31where she will be handing out leaflets, chatting to people and raising money for Target Ovarian Cancer.

A charity dinner and auction will also be held for 180 people on October 2 at Suffolk Barn, Hawstead thanks to help from Lacy, Scott & Knight, Savills, Bedfords, Flempton Golf Club, Nethergate Wines and Mauldons Brewery. 

You can also donate by going to Mrs Stephenson's page to donate: justgiving.com/fundraising/katy-stephenson4.

The symptom for ovarian cancer

The symptoms for ovarian cancer - Credit: Katy Stephenson

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