Eastender’s Jean Slater, (played by Gillian Wright ), has been told she has ovarian cancer; a life-changing diagnosis that 7,400 women and their families go through each year in the UK.
EastEnders producer Kate Oates says: "Jean's diagnosis will impact every aspect of her life, including her family, her friendship groups and her mental health”. We explain more about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, what Jean’s stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis means and what her treatment options could be.
Jean’s ovarian cancer symptoms
Bloating, feeling full after eating a small amount of food and a ‘funny tummy’ take Jean to the GP, although she originally thinks these symptoms are linked to the menopause.
The four main symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
- Persistent stomach pain
- Persistent bloating
- Difficulty eating/feeling full more quickly
- Needing to wee more frequently
While these can also be symptoms of other, less serious, conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome, if the symptoms are persistent, severe, frequent or out of the ordinary, you should make an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible.
Other ovarian cancer symptoms include: back pain, changes in bowel habits (going more often or a lot less), and extreme tiredness for no obvious reason. Download our free symptoms diary here.
Stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis
Ovarian cancer is diagnosed at one of four stages. The stage describes how far the cancer has spread inside the body – the higher the stage the further the cancer has progressed.
Jean Slater has been told she has stage 3 ovarian cancer. This means the cancer has spread beyond the pelvic area into the abdominal cavity (a large space in the abdomen containing organs that include the liver, pancreas and kidneys) and lymph nodes.
Click here find out more about the different types, stages and grades of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer treatment
A specialist oncologist team will be in charge of Jean’s care. It is likely that she will be offered chemotherapy at some point during her treatment. Chemotherapy works by using cytotoxic drugs to attack and kill cancer cells. It is one of the most commonly used treatments for ovarian cancer, along with surgery.
The aim of ovarian cancer surgery is to remove all of the cancer or as much of it as possible. The exact type of surgery that Jean will have, and whether she has it before or after chemotherapy, will be affected by the stage and type of her ovarian cancer.
Click here to find out more about the different treatment options for ovarian cancer.