Hitchin woman reflects on life-changing ovarian cancer diagnosis aged just 15

PUBLISHED: 07:00 26 February 2019

Zoe Alcock is telling her story as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Picture: Teens Unite

Zoe Alcock is telling her story as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Picture: Teens Unite

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A student from Hitchin has been reflecting on her life changing ovarian cancer diagnosis aged just 15 as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Zoe Alcock is telling her story as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Picture: Teens UniteZoe Alcock is telling her story as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Picture: Teens Unite

Zoe Alcock, 21, has decided to share her story to inspire and encourage others.

Six years ago she was rushed into hospital with severe bloating, incontinence and stomach pains, which resulted in an emergency operation. When Zoe woke up, she was told she had cancer.

“Nothing can prepare you for that. From that moment my life changed,” said Zoe, who is now doing a degree in fashion marketing.

After her first operation she was given the all-clear but, in May 2016, the cancer returned.

She was told the news by her parents, with Zoe saying: “I still have no words to describe what it felt like receiving this awful news; to see the pain I felt, reflected back at me from the two people I love the most.”

After another operation to remove the tumour, she was told that the cancer was aggressive and she would have to undergo three rounds of chemotherapy – the first taking place just a day after her 16th birthday.

“The word I had dreaded hearing throughout this whole endeavour was now said to me. ‘Chemotherapy’.

“This one word scared me more than cancer itself.

“It was physically straining and mentally I lost all form of identity. I was a 16-year-old girl, with no hair, continual sickness and dizziness, totally isolated and spending most of my time in a hospital ward feeling alone.”

It was during this time that Zoe found out about Teens Unite: Fighting Cancer, a Herts-based charity which provides the emotional, social and physical support needed by young people living with cancer and its lasting side effects.

After initially being scared to attend the charity’s events, Zoe has now been supported by Teens Unite for five years.

“Teens Unite has not only offered me the chance to meet other individuals who have faced this awful disease, but the charity has provided countless opportunities to build me life back together,” she said.

“The after-effects of cancer are often overlooked, it is one of the most emotionally traumatic experiences a young person can go through.

“Still, to this day, I am facing the aftermath of this trauma. However, this immense challenge has been mad more manageable with this incredible charity by my side.”

To find out more about Teens Unite and the support available visit teensunite.org.

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