RAISING AWARENESS: Community ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia Robert Jordan before he spoke to Midday Grafton Rotary.
RAISING AWARENESS: Community ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia Robert Jordan before he spoke to Midday Grafton Rotary. Adam Hourigan

Spreading the message of ovarian cancer

ROBERT Jordan is a man on a mission to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and continue the legacy of his wife.

A retired pharmacist from Sydney and Ovarian Cancer Australia Community Ambassador, Mr Jordan's life was changed forever after his wife Diane was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2010.

"I came home on Sunday evening, and Diane said that she felt a little nauseous so she went to bed," he said.

"At about 2am she woke me and said she had severe nausea and abdominal pains, so we phoned the emergency doctor, and on arrival he decided to admit Diane to Concord Hospital.

"Over a period of hours the doctors couldn't decide on a diagnosis, so they called in a specialist who ordered various test, and after the results of the tests were available the specialist gave the fateful news that it was ovarian cancer.

"It was on Diane's 70th birthday that she was diagnosed. It's one of those diseases that has a very sudden onset of symptoms and usually that means that as soon as the symptoms appear for the lady in question, the cancer has already spread."

For the next four years, Diane went through a debulk operation followed by rounds of chemotherapy, however she lost her battle in 2014.

"When the chemotherapy stopped it was about the usual period of four to five years from diagnosis, which is when more than 75 per cent of ladies die from ovarian cancer," he said.

"Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of any woman's cancer and has and average survival rate of five years, well below the average of all cancers."

For the past 18 months, Mr Jordan has been putting his public speaking skills to good use, talking to Rotary and Probus Clubs to help spread the word and increase awareness of ovarian cancer, and he was in Grafton yesterday to help spread the message.

Raising awareness of ovarian cancer was a course his wife helped set for him before she died.

"She said to get in touch with Ovarian Cancer Australia down in Melbourne and see what I can do for them," he said.

"She said that I had retired and didn't own pharmacies and that I wouldn't know what to do with myself and she didn't want me gazing at my navel.

"The whole idea of me talking for OCA is part of their awareness campaign and my whole purpose is to spread awareness of ovarian cancer.

"I thought I'd be a bit embarrassed talking about it, but it's very rewarding. I love it. The best part of the feedback I get is that those who were at my speech are spreading the word, and talking about ovarian cancer."

At 78 years young, Mr Jordan has no plans on slowing down yet, and also represents the Australia New Zealand Gynaecology Group as an ambassador for their Survivors Teaching Students program, where he talks about the psychology of being a carer for a lady with ovarian cancer.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer

  • Pressure, discomfort or pain in the abdominal or pelvic area
  • Persistent abdominal bloating
  • Need to urinate often or urgently
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Appetite loss or feeling full after eating only a small amount
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Post-menopausal bleeding or irregular periods
  • Changed bowel habits

For more information visit www.ovariancancer.net.au.

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