June proves there is cancer hope
JUNE Cavanaugh is the first woman in Australia to have simultaneous life-saving surgery to beat advanced ovarian cancer.
And now all the Pialba 66-year-old wants to do is to say thank you to the medicos and nurses of the Qld public health system by raising much-needed millions to help them to further research what is one of the worst cancers anyone can have.
“In December last year I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” June said yesterday.
“At first I didn't know it had spread to my chest cavity.
“But six weeks later in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital gynaecology cancer specialist Professor Andreas Obermair was removing my uterus, ovaries and cervix.
“And thoracic surgeon Dr Morgan Windsor removed my chest tumours in a procedure they call video-assisted thorascopic surgery. This is done by injecting a miniscule camera to guide the surgeon.”
Professor Obermair later said he had seen the operations performed in New York; otherwise he would not have attempted the surgery on Mrs Cavanaugh.
“We would have given up but we're less and less prepared to admit defeat.”
Every year in Australia some 1500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 850 will die from it.
June has made a recovery that even she describes as “extraordinary”.
“I had 24 lots of chemotherapy in Hervey Bay and in Brisbane and I wasn't even sick.
“The surgeons told me I have a 50 per cent chance of the cancer returning but meanwhile I just want to say thank you to them and raise much-needed money to help them continue their research into how to beat this dreadful cancer.
“My message to women out there, no matter whether you're a great-grandmother or a young girl, is to seek professional advice if you feel even the slightest ongoing tummy or pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, have difficulty eating or are feeling full and have increased urgency to urinate or a change in your bowel habits.
“I am very lucky to have come through all this with the help and skills of wonderful doctors and hospital staff.”
To donate to June's fundraiser to help gynaecological cancer research, visit www.gyncan.org or phone Lisa Harrold from the Queensland Centre for Gynaecological Cancer Research on 0418 151 850.
Meanwhile June is also raffling a hand-stitched quilt for which the tickets are $2 or three for $5. Call 4124 6190.