AFTER years of GP visits for mystery stomach pains, a diagnosis of ovarian cancer came as a complete shock.

But now Rebecca Scott is determined to let other young cancer patients know there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Even as her world has been turned upside down, Rebecca is trying to support others with the illness.

Rebecca added: "Ovarian cancer is uncommon in women in their twenties and I found very few details of people my age with this disease when I was researching it.

"I want others to know that life as a twenty-something, menopausal woman is still fun and to hopefully take some comfort in that when faced with such a difficult prospect."

The 28-year-old had been back and forward to her doctor for years about pain in her stomach.

In March 2017 she was referred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for tests.

Rebecca said: “It was a Tuesday afternoon and I went to appointment alone because I wasn’t expecting bad news.

"The doctors felt my stomach, then they pulled the curtain round and started talking to each other and I overheard them say ‘oncology.’

"I just went into a state of shock. It was like something out of an advert. I was so upset.

"They got a nurse in and she was holding my hand and there were three or four of them all sitting around me.

"It was a bit of an out of body moment, I was thinking ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.’”

Blood tests showed Rebecca had a high level of a molecule called CA125.

Women with ovarian cancer tend to have higher levels of CA125 in their blood than women who don’t have the disease.

Rebecca added: “My CA125 was 725 and the normal range is 35 and under, so I knew it was bad.

"They told me that they thought there was something definitely going on with my ovary and I’d need surgery to take it out, but they wouldn’t know for certain until they did a biopsy.

“I was really, really shocked. I knew something was wrong with me, but it wouldn’t have occurred to me in a million years that it was ovarian cancer.”

Rebecca was admitted to hospital for surgery to remove her ovary on April 26 2017.

A week later, on May 3 2017, doctors confirmed the investment banker had Stage 2 low-grade serous ovarian cancer, a relatively rare type of the disease that is slow-growing.

The cancer had spread to Rebecca’s pelvis and she was told she would need further surgery - a full hysterectomy to remove her womb, fallopian tubes and her other ovary.

The procedure would bring on early menopause.

Rebecca said: “When I first found out that I would go through menopause, I was devastated.

"I didn’t know much about it - was I going to be like an old woman, what was going to happen to my body?

"I didn’t know what someone who had been through premature menopause looked like.

"I got off quite lightly really. It mainly affected my sleep, I would get night sweats.

"I had hot flushes and heart palpitations too. It wasn’t great, but it could have been worse.

"At first it used to really upset me when I got a hot flush. I’d think ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me,’ but now I think ‘OK, you know what’s happening and in a minute and a half you’ll feel fine.’

"So I try not to get too swept up in it. I don’t feel it’s ruined my life.”

As well as going through life-changing surgery, Rebecca and her boyfriend Nima, 30, had a decision to make about having a family in future when doctors asked Rebecca before her operation if she wanted to freeze her eggs.

She said: “I had to decide whether or not to get my eggs frozen, but I decided not to.

"Before the cancer happened, I wasn’t sure I wanted children. If I decide I do in the future, I’ll adopt.

"I like to think if I did adopt then that will make someone’s life better as a result of mine being a bit hard for a while.

"It’s an opportunity to do something kind, I think.”

Rebecca’s second surgery took place on June 22, 2017, then doctors recommended a course of chemotherapy.

But Rebecca had done her own research and read that chemotherapy had a poor success rate for her type of cancer, so she requested a second opinion.

She said: “I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the success rate of chemotherapy.

"I saw a couple of different consultants, did a lot of reading and ultimately decided not to get chemotherapy but to take a hormonal treatment called letrozole.

"It’s a breast cancer drug, but it has shown good results in small studies for ovarian cancer.”

Cancer Research UK played a crucial role in the underpinning research that led to the development of letrozole and helped prove its benefit in treating ovarian cancer through clinical trials.

Rebecca said: "I get some joint pain and tiredness with it, and hot flushes because it prolongs the menopausal symptoms but if I’m making an effort to exercise, not work long hours and eat right then I feel fine.

"I’ve not had to make any big lifestyle changes because of it, I just have to be a bit more conscious of what I’m doing."

Just over a year later, Rebecca is cancer free and doing well.

She wants to raise awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer, especially in younger women, and share her story to help other young women with the disease to feel less isolated.

She said: “If you have persistent symptoms, push for answers and don’t accept a vague diagnosis if you feel you know something is wrong.

"Listen to your body, pay attention to changes and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.”

Rebecca has now met with Dr Seth Coffelt, a scientist at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, for a special tour of his lab to see the work he and his team are doing to understand how the immune system is involved in the spread of ovarian cancer.

Dr Coffelt and his team are working to understand how ovarian cancer manipulates different types of immune cells in the body.

He said: “Normally, immune cells fight off infection, but we know that ovarian tumours change the behaviour of some immune cells to make them their adversary rather than their enemy.

“We want to understand how this process happens in ovarian cancer so we can block it.

"With this information we hope to identify new immunotherapies that could interfere with how ovarian cancer manipulates the body’s immune cells.”

Cancer Research UK's Stand Up To Cancer campaign unites scientists, celebrities and communities.

Money raised for Stand Up To Cancer helps take developments from the lab and transform them, quickly, into brand new tests and treatments for cancer patients.

Dr Coffelt said: “Research is cancer’s number one enemy. Stand Up To Cancer helps fund clinical trials and research projects which pack a punch in the fight against the disease.

“This research is crucial, but also very expensive.

"That’s why I’m calling on Scots to get fighting fit and help doctors and scientists speed through breakthroughs for the benefit of cancer patients across the country.”

Since it was launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer has raised more than £38 million to support life-saving research.

Dr Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “We are in a ‘golden age’ for cancer research and every pound raised by Stand Up To Cancer takes us a step closer to beating the disease.

"We will never throw in the towel. We believe this is a fight that we can win."

Scots can also show their support for the campaign in style as a fun range of clothing and accessories for men, women and children is available now online and at Cancer Research UK shops from late September.

Stand Up To Cancer will culminate with an unforgettable night of live television on Friday, October 26.

To get involved see