Teen's fight after stomach ache led to sinister diagnosis

A 17-year-old girl has recalled how her stomach ache led to a shock cancer diagnosis.

The Adelaide teen was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumour on her right ovary after complaining of a tummy ache as a five-year-old.

“My parents kind of pushed [the pains] aside, thinking there was just a stomach bug going around in our year level,” Jemima told Mamamia.

“Then Mum leant over at dinner one night and happened to feel my stomach, and she noticed a weird little bump there.”

The little girl was soon diagnosed with ovarian cancer and went through four rounds of chemotherapy and had her ovary removed.

Jemima Leydon, 17, is raising awareness for ovarian cancer
Jemima Leydon, 17, is raising awareness for ovarian cancer. Source: Sunrise

“To go from a stomach ache to a diagnosis in a very short space of time like that is quote devastating,” Megan Leydon, Jemima’s mother told Sunrise.

“It was a bit surreal because there was no time really to think about it, we just had to just get on with it,” her father Gavin Leydon said.

The young woman is trying to raise awareness about the illness and considers herself to be “lucky”.

“I don’t remember a lot of it, because I was so young,” Jemima told Sunrise.

“I’m really grateful my parents shielded me from a lot of it.”

The Year 11 student is now healthy and happy, enjoying dancing and netball.

She is calling for funding to develop early detection tests as an ambassador for the ovarian cancer research foundation.

Jemima Leydon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged five
Jemima Leydon was diagnosed with ovarian cancer aged five. Source: Sunrise

“I really consider myself one of the lucky ones with ovarian cancer,” she said.

“I think definitely because my situation was detected early, I was treated early, I had such a better chance.”

She said there is not currently an early detection test for ovarian cancer and hopes funds can be donated to develop a test.

“The key really is early detection and that early detection test which is what I’m really passionate about,” she said.

“I don’t want my story to be a sob story. I want to raise awareness and make a difference.”