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‘I went to a fertility clinic hoping to start my family and learned I had metastatic ovarian cancer’

GP Serena Whelan was devastated when cancer put an end to her hopes of having a biological child, but counts herself lucky that her wish to become a mother meant her diagnosis came in time for her to be treated successfully. She talks about the importance of visiting your doctor, having the BRCA gene and her hopes for a family through adoption

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Dr Serena Whelan, who beat ovarian cancer, works at NUI Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Dr Serena Whelan, who beat ovarian cancer, works at NUI Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Dr Serena Whelan is encouraging women to get any potential symptoms checked out

Dr Serena Whelan is encouraging women to get any potential symptoms checked out

Dr Serena Whelan and her husband Fergus have looked at adoption

Dr Serena Whelan and her husband Fergus have looked at adoption

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Dr Serena Whelan, who beat ovarian cancer, works at NUI Galway. Photo: Ray Ryan.

Like many newlyweds, when Serena Whelan got married, she and her husband Fergus dreamed of having a family. But a year later, they were no closer to becoming parents and decided to visit a fertility clinic. This decision proved to be a double-edged sword as they discovered that she would not become pregnant and, even more shockingly, actually had ovarian cancer and would need treatment and surgery as a matter of urgency.

May 8 is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day and the 38-year-old is keen to share her story so others realise the importance of seeking advice if they have any medical concerns whatsoever, as this disease is often dubbed a ‘silent killer’ due to its vague symptoms.


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