Ovarian cancer: Amy's story

At 36, Amy Van Wyk was diagnosed with a type of ovarian cancer that’s particularly difficult to treat. Here, she explains how a new cure or treatment would completely change her and her husband’s life

by Amy Van Wyk | 18th May 2020

Back to news


When I think about the family we could have had, I feel absolutely devastated.

The year I took a career break to have a child, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. My husband and I had bought a detached house with a garden that would be perfect for a family – we even bought a car that would fit a buggy in the back.

But now ovarian cancer has taken the whole future away from us.

In 2016, I started getting very tired, experiencing bladder pain, migraines and lost a lot of weight.

After two years of unsuccessful trips to the doctor, I eventually had tests in 2018 which revealed I had fluid in my abdomen and a mango-sized mass on my ovary.

I had major surgery within six weeks.

I don’t have ovaries anymore, and may need to have further surgery, so the cancer has taken away my chance of being a biological mother.

Amy Van Wyk after chemotherapy

But it might have taken away my chance of being an adoptive mother too, because you usually have to be five years clear to adopt and I doubt I’ll ever get to that point.

After the surgery I was in so much pain I wasn't able to walk further than the end of my road.

But I gradually built my strength up and up, mile by mile, and I've run two 10ks this year which means a lot to me.

Amy first run after diagnosis

Ovarian cancer has bleak statistics and, at 38 years old, things aren't looking great in terms of my survival.

That alone is beyond scary, but I also have a type of ovarian cancer called low-grade, which typically doesn’t respond well to chemotherapy.

The development of new treatments or cures would completely change my life. Even something that could just improve or prolong it would mean the world to me and my husband.

Even if my cancer isn’t curable, perhaps it is treatable.

Find out more about ovarian cancer, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, here.