The story starts when Amy Miller was 18 years old, gearing up to start her first year in university. She wasn’t pregnant, but she had missed her periods for the past six months. She was also starting to grow facial hair– one of the first clues of the extremely high levels of testosterone that tests would later reveal in her bloodstream. Amy’s mother suggested she visit the doctor, and she obliged.
The doctors initially thought this was a simple case of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It made sense: she was a young woman, who hadn’t menstruated in months, with 2.5 times the normal levels of testosterone in her blood. PCOS is a relatively common condition in females of reproductive age. As the name suggests, PCOS causes many cysts to grow on a patient’s ovaries. The cysts aren’t dangerous, but since the ovaries are essential for hormone production, they cause hormonal imbalance. There’s no cure, but a healthy lifestyle and hormonal therapies can mitigate symptoms. To read more about PCOS, click here.
MRI scans and ultra-scans also seemed to point to PCOS as the obvious suspect. At this point, ovarian cancer seemed far-fetched. It’s already a rare cancer, which makes it notoriously hard to catch. It’s even rarer in someone Amy’s age. To read more about ovarian cancer, click here.
However, the obvious answer is not necessarily the correct one– Amy Miller is living proof.
She had a cyst biopsied for closer inspection, and carried on with her life. She even started having periods again. Nothing prepared her for the appointment where she heard the shocking results of the biopsy; she hadn’t thought to bring a family member or friend. Amy had a Sertoli-Leydig sex cord tumor, which is an extremely uncommon form of ovarian cancer.
While Amy reports that this was the most frightening day of her life, she also remembers how kind her doctors were. They joked with her, and explained how rare her tumor was. No one had ever had one of this sort in Yorkshire before her.
Amy fought through the cancer. Fortunately, it hadn’t spread throughout her body. This meant it could be removed by surgery, without any radiotherapy or chemotherapy. She decided to have her left ovary surgically removed. Since she still has her right ovary, she can still have decide to have children later on.