United Kingdom

Mother, 26, diagnosed with incurable ovarian cancer seven months after birth of first child 

A young mother who thought her loss of appetite was down to a post-pregnancy diet was diagnosed with incurable cancer seven months after the birth of her first child. 

Estelle Wignall, 26, from Wigan, was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017, but had undergone surgery to remove the tumour, along with her right ovary and fallopian tube. 

After managing to fall pregnant and giving birth to daughter Brooke in May, Estelle started a diet to lose her extra weight, assuming changes in her body were down to a lack of food. 

In November last year, she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer which had spread to her liver and lungs, and she was told by doctors she has between two and three years left to live.

Estelle Wignall, 26, from Wigan (pictured with husband Mike, 25) was diagnosed with incurable cancer seven months after the birth of her first child

Estelle (pictured with Mike and daughter Brooke) was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2017

But Estelle hopes to 'prove doctors wrong' and the inspirational young mum is now fundraising for cancer charities to spread awareness of the disease. 

'Despite the bombshell news, I am staying positive. I keep a smile on my face', said Estelle. 'I'm hoping to prove the doctors wrong so I can get to see my little girl grow up.'

Estelle, a country singer, was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago and said 'nobody took her seriously' when she first became tired and bloated, with doctors insisting she had IBS.

Her symptoms became so bad that she was rushed to hospital, but sent home again with medication. 

Estelle underwent surgery to remove the tumour, along with her right ovary and fallopian tube. Pictured, Estelle and Mike after shaving their heads for cancer charity Ovacome

 Estelle, pictured with daughter Brooke, was initially diagnosed with ovarian cancer four years ago and said 'nobody took her seriously' when she first became tired and bloated

'I picked up a leaflet in hospital about ovarian cancer and I immediately diagnosed myself. But everyone told me not to be so stupid because I was only 22-years-old.

'People said I was being a hypochondriac. Nobody took me seriously – but I just knew. It was an instinct.' 

Estelle pushed for tests and in February 2017, was finally diagnosed with grade one ovarian cancer. She had a tumour removed, along with her right ovary and Fallopian tube.

She made a full recovery and began working as a receptionist, marrying Mike, 25, in June 2019 in Texas. 

Despite fears she would be unable to conceive with one ovary, the couple had their first child, Brooke in May last year.

She made a full recovery following her surgery and began working as a receptionist, marrying soulmate Mike, 25, in June 2019 in Texas

Despite fears she would be unable to conceive with one ovary, the couple had their first child, Brooke in May last year. Pictured, Mike and Estelle while pregnant with Brooke 

WHAT IS OVARIAN CANCER AND WHAT ARE ITS SYMPTOMS?

Ovarian cancer affects more than 7,000 women in the UK each year and there are an estimated 41,000 women living with it.

It is a cancer of the ovaries, which are part of the female reproductive system that contain their eggs. There are two ovaries and both are attached to the womb. Cancer on the ovaries can spread to the nearby bowel and bladder.

It is the fifth most common cancer among women, and is most common in women who have had the menopause but it can affect women of any age. 

About 66 per cent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the more advanced stages of the disease.

At the time of diagnosis, 60 per cent of ovarian cancers will have already spread to other parts of the body, bringing the five-year survival rate down to 30 per cent from 90 per cent in the earliest stage.

It’s diagnosed so late because its location in the pelvis means the symptoms can be vague and difficult to recognise, particularly early on.

They're often the same as symptoms of less serious conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

See your GP if:

You've been feeling bloated most days for the last three weeks 

You have other symptoms of ovarian cancer that won't go away – especially if you're over 50 or have a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as you may be at a higher risk 

'I had only one ovary and so to conceive so quickly felt like a miracle', she said.

'I didn't have my regular checks because I was pregnant, and during the birth the midwife actually noticed nodules on my cervix and I was referred for more tests, which came back clear.'  

'We adored Brooke and the future looked fantastic. I was actually planning a hysterectomy so that there was no chance the cancer could return.'

But before she was able to undergo the procedure, Estelle started to feel unwell, suffering from exhaustion and a lack of appetite.

'I had started the 12 week diet challenge, to get rid of my baby weight. I just needed to lose a stone, that was all.

After managing to fall pregnant and giving birth to daughter Brooke in May, Estelle started a diet to lose her extra pregnancy weight

Estelle, pictured with Brooke and Mike, had planned to have a hysterectomy but before she was able to undergo the procedure started to feel unwell, suffering from exhaustion and a lack of appetite 

'But I started to feel very tired and I had no appetite. I thought it was all due to the diet – but it got worse and I began to think the cancer might be back.'

In November last year, Estelle was sent for urgent scans and was diagnosed with stage four cancer, which had spread to her liver and lungs. The condition is terminal. 

'I was devastated', said Estelle, 'The first time I had cancer, I coped well. But this time, because of Brooke, I was heartbroken. 

'She was jut six months old and it felt so cruel. I had only just started being a mum, and I didn't want it to be taken away.'

In November last year, Estelle, pictured in hospital, was sent for urgent scans and was diagnosed with stage four cancer, which had spread to her liver and lungs

Estelle and her family are raising funds for ovarian cancer charity Ovacome, urging other young women to know the signs of Ovarian cancer 

The mother is undergoing chemotherapy, but has been told she will live only another two or three years.

She said: 'I have a wonderful family around me; a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, and also my mum, Beverley. I have every reason to fight this and to prove the doctors wrong.'

Estelle and her family are raising funds for ovarian cancer charity Ovacome, recently taking part in a sponsored head shave, along with her brothers, Jamie and Kieran, family friend, Danny, and husband Mike. 

'I want to do my bit to help others and also to raise awareness that this disease can strike young women', said Estelle, 'It is so important to be aware of the signs.'

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