Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

How this teenager’s ovarian cancer diagnosis is inspiring women everywhere

ovarian cancer survivor.JPG

It’s easy to dismiss ovarian and other female-specific cancers as something to worry about when we’re older. But there’s been a sharp increase in the incidence of ovarian cancer in women in their early 30s, and over half of the 7,000 UK cases diagnosed a year occur in women under 65.

And that’s why 16-year-old Peyton Linafelter is sharing her story with the world.

The model was just 15 when she began experiencing a series of unusual symptoms, just days after being scouted by Kate Upton’s agency.

“I couldn’t keep anything down,” she told Fox News. “My stomach was a little expanded and I just thought I was eating a lot of carbs. But, each week, my stomach got bigger and bigger.

“By the time it was April, I looked like I was five months pregnant. My lower back hurt a lot and my abdomen was in pain.”

Linafelter visited her doctors and told them about her symptoms, and they began running a series of tests. On her 16th birthday, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Bettering myself more and more everyday

A post shared by ǷɛʏƗoɴ 🎗 (@peytonlinafelter) on

“I was in disbelief,” she said. “I thought they were in the wrong room or it was a mistake.

“My mum seemed to know something was wrong, like a bigger scale than just ovarian cysts. I guess, deep down, I did too – but I wasn’t thinking cancer.”


Read more: Two thirds of us wouldn’t recognise ovarian cancer symptoms


Days later, Linafelter began chemotherapy treatment. She was given a 17% chance of survival, and yet, by December 2016, the cancer had cleared up completely.

However the aspiring young model was, of course, worried at the physical effects that come hand-in-hand with chemo – particularly losing her hair.

“Another thing that went through my mind was that ‘I’m not going to be able to model. I’m going to have a big scar. I’m not going to have much hair’,” she said. “But everything has worked out fine. (My agent) contacted my mother in June/July after chemo treatments.”

Love your melon | Love your body | Love your life

A post shared by ǷɛʏƗoɴ 🎗 (@peytonlinafelter) on

The teenager has been documenting her experiences on Instagram alongside a series of body positive quotes (“Love your melon, love your body, love your life”), inspiring women everywhere to share their own stories.

And now Linafelter has now teamed up with University of Colorado Hospital’s UCHealth to promote even more awareness and conversation around the topic of ovarian cancer.

Via a series of televised appearances, the teen has been urging women all over the world to be in tune with their bodies and go to their doctors if they experience any unusual symptoms.

“Even if you think it’s something very simple, there could be long term effects,” said Linafelter. “Look after your health and don’t just push it aside.”

She adds: “I definitely have a new normal now. It's definitely the normal I'm going to be seeing more often. But I'm hanging out with friends, I'm out and doing this."

20 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every day in the UK, of which 60% are diagnosed late.

Feeling bloated most days for three weeks or more can be a symptom, explains the NHS, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor straight away. Early detection makes it far easier to treat.

Other symptoms include:

  • Feeling full quickly or loss of appetite
  • Pelvic or stomach pain
  • Needing to pee urgently or more frequently than normal
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Swotting up on the signs is paramount for women, not least because it’s currently Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The majority of stage one cases can be successfully treated.


Read more: “I’m so sorry – I didn’t get it”: oncology nurse pens apology to her patients after own cancer diagnosis


The NHS adds: “If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP as soon as possible. If you know anyone who has any of these symptoms, insist they see their doctor.”

Here’s some further advice on when to seek help from your GP if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.

Images: instagram.com/peytonlinafelter/

Related

heartbreak.jpg

Dying author pens heartbreaking online dating profile for her husband

iStock-157330324.jpg

Two thirds of us wouldn't recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer

rexfeatures_4435680gx.jpg

Rita Wilson undergoes double mastectomy after cancer was missed

Comments

More

“Why I risked my life to convert to Zoroastrianism”

As the influence of ISIS spreads, women in Iraqi Kurdistan are converting to an ancient religion that preaches gender equality

by Corinne Redfern
26 Jul 2017

These are THE most annoying buzzwords used in the office

Come on admit it, how many of these do you use?

by Megan Murray
26 Jul 2017

The scientific reason why twenty-somethings cheat on their partners

As if dating wasn't hard enough...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Jul 2017

An espresso martini festival is coming to the UK this summer

All aboard for an homage to the suave and punchy concoction

by Anna Brech
26 Jul 2017

We finally know when Wonder Woman 2 will be out in cinemas

Because one female-led superhero film is just not enough

by Moya Crockett
26 Jul 2017

11 travel booking hacks that could score you a first class seat

These thrifty tips are the only thing between you and your next holiday

by Megan Murray
26 Jul 2017

5 of your Facebook friends are psychopaths – but which ones?

Here are the red flags to watch out for…

by Kayleigh Dray
26 Jul 2017

How a 'coffee nap' can supercharge your work day

Brew up the caffeine and then hit snooze

by Anna Brech
26 Jul 2017

This grandad just won the internet with his adorable emoji cheat sheet

And the award for the cutest grandparent goes to...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Jul 2017

Helen Mirren’s on-point career advice is the best you’ll ever hear

Concise and brilliant insight from the Hollywood icon

by Anna Brech
26 Jul 2017