A popular Scottish comedian is battling ovarian cancer.
Janey Godley, 60, shared the news on Instagram after being forced to cut her tour short while sharing some of the symptoms she experienced in hopes of alerting others who may be ignoring signs of the disease.Read More
Godley admitted that she had been doing a lot of “crying, crying, crying” in a video shot from her hospital bed before adding: “But I’m going to use science and I am going to use technology and I’m going to try and cope with this next step in the journey.”
— Janey Godley (@JaneyGodley) November 19, 2021
She then explained why she sought medical attention, explaining that after weeks of touring amid increasing pain and discomfort, she finally hit a point that made it impossible for her to perform.
“If you have any symptoms like I had, which is: I felt as though I was full before I was eating a meal; I felt as though I had no real energy; and bloatedness inside my stomach,” said Godley.
A few days later, Godley again posted on social media, sharing her treatment plan with her followers while explaining that her COVID diagnosis delayed any chance that she might immediately start treatment.
“I’ve got seven weeks to wait because we’ve had COVID for the operation, which is going to be a full hysterectomy,” said Godley.
She then highlighted a few additional symptoms.
“Just so that women out there can keep an eye on themselves if you’ve got a feeling that as soon as you eat, you feel full like you can’t eat anymore and then some sharp pains in your stomach,” said Godley.
“Or if you go to the toilet pissing every ten minutes and then complete and utter exhaustion. Just laid bare, flat-out exhaustion.”
In addition to her hysterectomy, Godley will also have some lymph nodes removed, she said, and then possibly receive chemotherapy, but her doctor will not decide that until after her surgery.
Meanwhile, despite being immunocompromised, Godley said that she is handling COVID far better than her husband and daughter, who are both wiped out from the virus.
“I’m as strong as an Alsatian dog,” said Godley. “So who knows, maybe that’s a good sign.”
Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer
“Because the symptoms are often negligible and easy to dismiss, ovarian cancer can be one of those stealth illnesses that go unnoticed until it’s reached a late stage,” Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Medical Center, previously told SurvivorNet.
“After all, who hasn’t felt overly full on occasion? Or needed to urinate a little more often than normal? Because most, but not all, cases occur in menopausal women, the bloating, pelvic pain, and other symptoms may seem unremarkable when so many other things are going on within a woman’s reproductive organs.”
Dr. Karlan explained that these factors explain why there is an average delay of nine months between when a woman first experiences symptoms of the disease and her diagnosis.
She encourages women who experience the following symptoms for a week or more to see their doctor and ask for an ovarian cancer screening. Those with a history of the disease should do the same after 30, if not sooner, even if they are not yet experiencing symptoms.
- Severe pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating or a feeling of fullness that makes it painful to eat
- Sudden and frequent urges to urinate
- Upset stomach
- Back pain that can feel similar to a UTI
- Pain during sex
- Heavier than usual menstruation or spotting
- Distended stomach or abdominal swelling coupled with weight loss
Misdiagnosing Ovarian Cancer
Janey Godley avoided being misdiagnosed, something that happens with many ovarian cancer warriors.
Jackie Liu has a remarkably similar story, experiencing the same symptoms and getting a similar misdiagnosis before eventually discovering she was battling the disease.
“So in hindsight, knowing what I know now, I probably had symptoms for a while,” Liu previously told SurvivorNet.
“It began with bloating, but I worked in healthcare, and so you don’t necessarily eat very healthy, so I chalked it up to food issues. And then I had a lot of pain during sex, which wasn’t a thing for me until about a year before I was diagnosed. So every time I had sex, it was very, very painful. I also had bladder spasms, which were misdiagnosed as a UTI constantly.”
There was also severe abdominal pain which resulted in Liu’s hospitalization.
“I was in the middle of nowhere in Nevada, and I had lower right abdominal pain that I thought was appendicitis. So I went to the ER, and that’s where they scanned me and found a huge mass,” recalled Liu.
She was released from that facility and returned to a hospital closer to her home in Virginia, better equipped to treat her. After a scan confirmed what doctors in Nevada had found, she underwent surgery just a few weeks later.
Liu also made the same decision that Godley did and underwent a full hysterectomy to ensure the cancer would not return.