The Eve Appeal Lifeline


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The Eve Appeal

Nigel Havers makes an appeal on behalf of the Eve Appeal, a charity dedicated to improving the prevention, detection and treatment of gynaecological cancers.


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'My wife Polly and I were married

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'for 15 years.'

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In 2,000, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

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After a four-year battle,

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sadly, Polly died.

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Her cancer had been discovered too late.

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So I know exactly how life-shattering

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a gynaecological cancer can be for everyone affected.

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This is Sophie.

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Three years ago, she felt happy, fit and healthy.

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Then, one evening,

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whilst on holiday, she felt a small lump in her abdomen.

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'It wasn't painful.'

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It just felt like I was really full and it was very uncomfortable.

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'And that didn't frighten me. It was more the unknown'

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that frightened me.

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Sophie began to worry,

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as she felt the lump getting bigger, and rushed to A&E.

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Doctors told her there was a growing tumour on one of her ovaries,

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which needed to be removed immediately.

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When someone tells you it's a tumour, it's just like the bottom

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of your world falls out.

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I remember, it was like the room went on "silent" for me.

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I just couldn't believe what I was being told.

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Worse news was to follow.

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Doctors discovered she had ovarian cancer.

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Terrifying.

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I thought I was never going to be able to have children.

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At just 34, feeling lost and frightened,

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Sophie feared her dream of having a family was over.

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I didn't know anything about it,

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and I was really young and I just was very frightened, I suppose.

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Sorry.

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There are five gynaecological cancers - cervical, ovarian,

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womb, vaginal and vulval.

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And, every day, 50 women in the UK

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are diagnosed with one of these cancers.

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That's why I'm supporting The Eve Appeal -

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a charity dedicated to improving the prevention,

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detection and treatment for gynaecological cancers.

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44-year-old Jacqui was a busy working mum,

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with a high-pressure job.

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She felt she was too busy to fit in her routine smear test.

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'I would get the correspondence'

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from the doctor, saying, "Please come and see me."

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I never did, because I'd think, "Yeah, I'll book that in.

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"Don't particularly like going for it, but I'll be all right."

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But then Jacqui started to develop worrying symptoms.

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'My stomach was becoming quite bloated, my periods'

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kept bleeding longer and longer and longer.

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Back pain...

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and I kind of knew that maybe something a little untoward was going on.

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Jacqui finally went to the doctor, where she was told

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she had to have an urgent hysterectomy.

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She hoped that would put an end to her symptoms.

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Instead, doctors informed her that she had cervical cancer.

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I, kind of, sat down, burst into tears.

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Kind of quite bewildered, actually,

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because I thought, "Well, no, what do you mean?

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"What do you actually mean, I've got cancer?"

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Jacqui began an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy,

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bringing her life to a standstill.

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With the treatment, it was the taste,

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it was the smell...

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it was the sickness.

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And, I suppose, the not knowing.

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The fear for me was, I think, not being able to think,

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"Right, I'm not going to be able to see my children grow up, I'm going to miss out

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"on certain parts of their lives."

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It was a very, very, very difficult time.

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'But there is a charity working to help women like Jacqui.'

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The Eve Appeal

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is the only UK charity that funds

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vital research into all five gynaecological cancers.

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Through their work, the charity aims for a future in which

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fewer women develop these cancers and more women will survive them.

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A key part of the charity's work

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is looking at ways to detect

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and treat gynaecological cancers earlier and more effectively.

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Here, at the University College Hospital, London,

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Dr Adeola Olaitan

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is a cancer consultant and medical advisor to The Eve Appeal.

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Currently, cervical cancer is the only gynaecological cancer

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which has a screening programme.

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Cervical screening has really worked and, since it was introduced,

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cervical cancer has become

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relatively uncommon.

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It saves about 5,000 lives a year.

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The test is painless and it's very effective.

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Cervical cancer screening is a great example of how successful

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early detection can be.

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It's important to realise it's a not a cancer test,

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it's a test to prevent cancer.

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And now, thanks to work by The Eve Appeal,

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there is hope for screening

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for all the other gynaecological cancers, too.

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Detecting cancer early, when it's curable,

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has the potential to save thousands of lives.

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It has the potential to cure the cancer,

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so that women no longer have to live with cancer.

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The Eve Appeal is currently helping to fund the world's largest trial

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into an ovarian cancer screening programme.

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Involving over 200,000 women, the trial aims to find a successful way

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of preventing this cancer early enough,

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so that more lives are saved.

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The Eve Appeal is making a real difference to women's lives.

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They are helping women to recognise and understand

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the signs, symptoms and risk factors of gynaecological cancer,

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and providing hope and support when they need it the most.

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After a gruelling course of chemotherapy,

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Sophie started the road to recovery.

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She knows that she's been lucky.

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I would never have thought, myself, "I've got ovarian cancer."

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I was just really grateful to be alive, basically.

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And to her surprise,

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she's been able start the family she's always wanted.

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Her little baby girl, Flora, arrived in April.

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I'm going to make you laugh.

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'I think raising awareness'

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of these cancers is really important,

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because there are a lot of people who don't know what the symptoms are.

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'People need to be aware of these things,'

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to actually go and do something about it.

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And not be frightened to do something about it.

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THEY LAUGH

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Jacqui finished her treatment in 2010, and has been free of cancer

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for nearly two years.

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For me, having cancer'

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has actually turned my life around,

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and made me appreciate what I've got

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and to certainly re-evaluate my life.

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It's so, so important to have your screening and for, basically,

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five minutes of...unpleasantness that could save your life.

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Every year, nearly 8,000 women die

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of a gynaecological cancer in the UK.

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The Eve Appeal is determined to change this.

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And with your support,

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they can continue to find new ways to help prevent these cancers.

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Please go to the website - bbc.co.uk/lifeline,

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where you can donate. If you don't have access to the internet,

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then call 0800 011 011.

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And if you can't get through, please, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10 by texting 'SUPPORT' to 70121.

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Texts cost £10, plus your standard network message charge,

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and the whole £10 goes to The Eve Appeal.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation,

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please make your cheque payable

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to The Eve Appeal, and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing "The Eve Appeal" on the back of the envelope.

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Remember, if you're a UK taxpayer,

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the charity can collect Gift Aid on your donation, worth another 25%.

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Just send in a note, to say you want your donation

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to be subject to Gift Aid,

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and include the date, your full name and address.

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Thank you.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Chariots of Fire star Nigel Havers makes an appeal on behalf of the Eve Appeal, a charity dedicated to improving the prevention, detection and treatment of gynaecological cancers.

The film features Sophie, who was suddenly diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 34, after finding a small lump in her abdomen. Sophie had one of her ovaries removed and began an intensive course of chemotherapy. However, she feared she would not be able to have children because of her treatment. Fortunately Sophie's cancer was detected early, and she has made a good recovery. She has recently given birth to a little baby girl, Flora.