JILL Emberson has told the stories of many local cancer survivors, campaigners and researchers through her popular radio program.
Now the 1233 ABC Newcastle journalist and Mornings presenter is facing her own battle with the disease.
In an emotional spoken statement on Monday, Ms Emberson told listeners that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“Even as I write and say the words 'ovarian cancer', I really don't feel like they're mine, like they are my story,” she said. “But they are. Right in the middle of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.”
Ms Emberson hopes that by sharing her personal story she may help to educate others about the discreet symptoms of ovarian cancer.
She told the Newcastle Herald she felt “a little pinching” in her lower abdomen prior to Christmas.
“For three days in a row, there was a short, sharp twinge. Nothing painful, but noticeable,” she said.
But it passed.
“I thought it was because I was working out again after a period of time,” she said.
Then, shortly after Christmas, she felt the pinching again.
“It just didn’t feel right. I went to the doctor and the journey began,” she said.
An ultrasound, and then a blood test, confirmed the diagnosis about three weeks ago.
Ms Emberson described a “wave of heat” rushing through her body as she was shown the test results.
She had surgery within the week. Further treatment with chemotherapy is likely to begin soon.
The main symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating, feeling full quickly, frequent or urgent urination, and back, abdominal or pelvic pain.
The Cancer Council also lists constipation, menstrual irregularities, fatigue, indigestion and pain during sexual intercourse as symptoms.
“What I’ve come to learn is that the symptoms are symptoms that women often have all of our lives,” Ms Emberson said.
“It doesn’t jump out and punch you in the nose saying ‘This is ovarian cancer’. It is more general.”
Ms Emberson said her diagnosis was still sinking in.
“I still feel like it’s some other person. Not me,” she said.
Throughout her seven years on Hunter airwaves with 1233 ABC Newcastle, Ms Emberson has championed women’s health issues.
She has shared stories about cancer research, fundraising, and awareness, and interviewed many campaigners and survivors.
“I’ve learned how important determination is,” she said.
“How important support and love from others is, how important looking after yourself is, and how important medical research is, because there is no test for this.
“There is no pap smear, there is no screening. Not one of the symptoms is enough to make you pick up the phone and think, ‘I better go to the doctor’.”
Ms Emberson encouraged people to donate to ovarian cancer support services.
"In the Hunter there is SOC,” she said.
"And nationally there is Ovarian Cancer Australia.”