"You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth." - Srividya
Having mere symptoms of bloating and breathlessness for a week, on 1st September 2020, Srividya Iyer a 36-year-old dentist and a mother of a toddler who relocated from Perth to Melbourne to undertake her postgraduate studies at the University of Melbourne in February 2020, was diagnosed with Stage 3C advanced ovarian cancer. This diagnosis was something which was extremely difficult for her to fathom and believe as she is a very fit and health-conscious individual, and the pandemic did not help as she heard the “Cancer” diagnosis all alone without having anybody by her side.
Cancer was not something Srividya was unfamiliar with. While doing her clinical placements at Peter Mac Callum Cancer Centre Melbourne, she was seeing and treating dental patients with different cancers and ironically, she is being treated at the same centre. She underwent extensive debulking surgery, going into surgical menopause at the age of 36 and 6 cycles of chemotherapy which she completed earlier this year on 11 January 2021.
She has shown tremendous fighting spirit since the time of her diagnosis and her positive mindset and willpower will stand her in good stead as she continues her fight to overcome this illness. She continues to be engaged in studies and clinical placements while undergoing treatment as she believes that the illness does not define her.
Ovarian cancer symptoms are very vague and hence, it is often diagnosed at advanced stages and has high recurrence rates. Srividya has been an individual who went to regular medical check-ups and this condition highlights the fact that cancer does not discriminate. Her ongoing treatment to keep the cancer at bay is a maintenance therapy for 2 years, which consists of a drug called Olaparib. However, this medication is not covered under the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) for someone like Srividya who does not have any genetic mutation and is unaffordable totalling around $7,500 AUD per month to purchase.
Despite the news and extensive treatment required, Srividya continued to work to support her family and has maintained a positive attitude and, is now looking at fundraising to make this medication more accessible for herself and also to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, in the hope that her story and the challenges she has encountered thus far can assist other women who fighting this terrible illness.
If you can help in any way, please donate to help this beautiful family pay for this necessary treatment.