Dealing With a Cancer Scare
- Glam model and TV personality Danielle Lloyd, 39, is facing an “exhausting” wait in an endometrial cancer scare after doctors discovered she had large cysts on her ovaries.
- Endometrial cancer is a type of uterine cancer, which develops in the lining of the uterus. There are several symptoms that may indicate that a cancer of the uterus has developed, and irregular bleeding is a common one.
- Coping with a diagnosis, whether it turns out to be cancer or just a scare, can be one of the toughest moments a person can experience. Dr. Shelly Tworoger, a researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center told SurvivorNet that “there's a number of common things cancer patients can experience, such as anxiety, depression, financial toxicity, social isolation.”
- It’s important to know that receiving a cancer diagnosis is shocking for anyone. Experts recommend being kind to yourself after getting a diagnosis and avoiding any temptation to blame yourself for the disease.
Lloyd, a former Miss England and Miss Great Britain, recently opened up about how doctors discovered she had large cysts on her ovaries after being rushed to the hospital about six weeks ago.Read More
“I just can't stop crying and have said to Michael, 'I don't want to leave my kids.’ I'm trying to stay positive for them but it's been horrendous. I'm sat here every day thinking, ‘Am I going to be OK?’ I'll be driving down the road and then burst into tears. I just feel like an emotional wreck and it's exhausting.”
Lloyd was also reportedly told by her doctors that she should undergo a hysterectomy (the surgical removal of part or all of the uterus, or womb, often along with the cervix) regardless of whether she has cancer or not.
“The doctor has advised me not to have any more children and whatever the results, I have thickening of the womb, which can eventually lead to cancer anyway,” she explained. “I've spoken to a few friends and they were like, ‘Oh God, are you ready to go through menopause?’ But at the end of the day, I do have five kids, which I'm thankful for.”
Lloyd, who is hoping her story inspires other women to advocate for their bodies when something doesn’t feel right, continued, “In some ways it is heartbreaking; I sometimes can't imagine never having a little baby again.”
“Before the bleeding, the first symptoms I had were feeling dazed and just not feeling like myself. I just knew something wasn't right. Usually I have loads of energy. I go to the gym and don't really get tired,” she explained further. “But I was really struggling and felt like I was having a breakdown. It was like I was there, but I wasn't there.”
“It's so important to see someone straight away. So many people put it off because they're scared. I'm terrified of getting these results.”
Expert Resources On Endometrial Cancer
- ‘The Google Earth of Endometrial Cancer’ — a New, Molecular Snapshot Could Lead to Better Treatment of the Disease
- Brave Woman Battling Late-Stage Endometrial Cancer Gains Huge Support In Asking AstraZeneca For Potentially Life-Saving Therapy: ‘It's Given Me Strength”
- Combo Immunotherapy-Chemo Treatment May Help Slow Progression of Advanced Endometrial Cancer: Studies Show Promising Results
- Remembering Groundbreaking Journalist Gwen Ifill Who Passed from Breast & Endometrial Cancer this Week in 2016; What is Endometrial Cancer?
According to the Daily Mail, which reported that one of model’s cysts were found to be the size of a tennis ball, Lloyd has two children, 8-month old Autumn and 4-year-old Ronnie, with her current husband, and four children from her first marriage to Jamie O’Hara. Her other three children are 11-year-old Archie, 10-year-old Harry, and 8-year-old George.
Lloyd previously opened up about having a miscarriage in 2019 and undergoing surgery for endometriosis in 2020, after being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis (when tissue, similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows on the outside of the uterus).
Handling a Diagnosis
Coping with a diagnosis, whether it turns out to be cancer or just a scare, can be one of the toughest moments a person can experience.
Dr. Shelly Tworoger, a researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center told SurvivorNet that “there's a number of common things cancer patients can experience, such as anxiety, depression, financial toxicity, social isolation.”
Cancer can weigh heavily emotionally just as much as the disease impacts the body physically. Fortunately, your care team can help you navigate your emotional health by turning you to resources to help you along your cancer journey and beyond.
It’s important to know that receiving a cancer diagnosis is shocking for anyone. Experts recommend being kind to yourself after getting a diagnosis and avoiding any temptation to blame yourself for the disease.
Oncologists we've spoken to have also stressed the importance of learning about your disease and not being afraid to ask questions or seek out second opinions.
Dr. Heather Yeo, a colorectal cancer surgeon at Weill Cornell Medicine, previously opened up with SurvivorNet about the diagnosis conversation with patients.
"I think it's really important for them to be able to hear it multiple times, to take notes," Dr. Yeo said. “Oftentimes, if a patient doesn't have a family member with them, I'll offer to call their family member afterward because you can hear something from your surgeon and not remember all the details."
Dr. Yeo added, "I support second opinions. I actually think it's really important. I mean, if you think about it in life, how do you choose someone to cut your hair? You get an opinion, right?
"You usually don't just go in and sit down with the first person you see on the street and say, cut my hair. You ask around and you try â€¦ If a patient has any questions, I support second opinions 100%."
Understanding Endometrial Cancer
While the results of Danielle Lloyd’s biopsy hasn’t yet been revealed, we can use her cancer scare story to raise awareness about this lesser known disease and its symptoms. Endometrial cancer is the more common type of uterine cancer, the other being uterine sarcoma, a rarer type.
Uterine cancer also called endometrial cancer develops in the lining of a woman's uterus. The uterus, or womb, is a pear-shaped organ where a fetus can develop and grow.
More than 90% of uterine cancers occur in the endometrium (the layer of tissue that lines the uterus), making them endometrial cancer. Uterine sarcoma, on the other hand, is very rare and develops in the myometrium, the muscle wall of your uterus.
There are several symptoms that may indicate that a cancer of the uterus has developed, and irregular bleeding is a really common one. This means bleeding in between periods for pre-menopausal women and unexpected bleeding for post-menopausal women.
Dr. Diana English, a Gynecologic Oncologist at Stanford Medicine, said in a previous interview with SurvivorNet that some conditions may predispose a person to develop uterine cancer.
"I think one of the challenges with uterine cancer is that it can also happen in younger patients that have certain conditions that might predispose them to cancer," Dr English said. "And these patients might not be thinking about this, their primary care providers might not be speaking to them about this."
Dr. English noted the risk factors for this disease as well. "Some of the common risk factors for uterine cancer include hypertension, diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is a syndrome that's marked by anovulation or the absence of regular periods, which tends to happen in premenopausal patients."
"And some of these patients are obese, some of these patients have signs and symptoms of hyperandrogenism or elevated male sex hormones, and Lynch Syndrome. The one good thing about uterine cancer, if there can be a good thing about any cancer, is that there's usually an early warning system, which is abnormal bleeding."
All About Hysterectomies
Women who receive a diagnosis of uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancer may have their cancer treated with a hysterectomy, to remove the area of the body where the cancer exists and from which it may metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
With the help of modern medicine, some surgeries can be performed with robotic assistance, and a hysterectomy is one of them.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Heidi Gray, a gynecologic oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, talked about open surgery versus robotic surgery, and how the two can be used to perform a hysterectomy. "The most common procedure that we do robotically would be a hysterectomy, removal of the tubes and ovaries, you can also do more complicated omentectomyâ€¦ removing of the omentum [a fatty apron surrounding abdominal organs]," Dr. Gray explained.
Meanwhile, a hysterectomy may also be employed as a cancer treatment or a preventative measure to lower the risk of developing cancer. Though, that may not be the best option for all people with an increased risk of cancer.
People may decide to undergo other surgeries, such as a mastectomy (removal or one or both breasts), as a preventative measure against cancer, even if they have not been diagnosed with cancer. This was the case for actress Angelina Jolie, who lost her mother to breast and ovarian cancers.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff