A MUM who thought she was going through the menopause was shocked to discover she had a rare form of cancer.
When Elaine Eke, 61, started showing signs of bleeding ten years ago, she ignored the symptoms because of her age.
Tests later revealed she had endometrial cancer, a rare cancer of the womb.
Elaine has told her story as she prepares to run the Basildon Race for Life at Gloucester Park, Basildon, on Sunday, June 29.
Elaine, of Whitmore Way, Basildon, had to undergo a full hysterectomy, six weeks of radiotherapy, as well as two sessions of brachytherapy – an internal form of radiotherapy, which was pioneering at the time.
She said: “It was a complete and utter shock. I was 51 at the time and honestly thought ‘this will just be the menopause’, so when they told me I had cancer it was terrifying.
“I must admit I was battered by it all. But five years after my initial diagnosis, I got given the allclear.
“Today I’m in complete health and very, very grateful for that treatment.”
Elaine faced further heartbreak after her diagnosis, when she lost her partner of 30 years, Dave, to lung cancer.
Her 39-year-old son, Tony, was diagnosed with bowel cancer, but has also been given the all-clear.
Elaine has taken part in the Cancer Research Race for Life every year since 2004, to play her part in fighting the devastating disease.
She said: “There’s still so much to be done to fight this terrible disease.
“It affects so many families.
Losing Dave to cancer was awful and I’m currently seeing a close friend go through it as well.
“So while I can celebrate mine and Tony’s survival, Race for Life is my way of helping fund more research so treatments are better for all those still fighting the disease.”
Race for Life will take place in Gloucester Park, Basildon, on Sunday, June 29.
Lynn Daly, spokeswoman for Cancer Research, said: “Participants may be walking or running, but what’s inescapable is the power and strength that comes from thousands of women joining together to confront cancer.
“More people in Essex are surviving cancer than ever before.
“But while we’re heading in the right direction, too many lives are still being lost to the disease.
“Sadly, most of us know someone whose life has been touched by cancer and this really brings home howmuch more work there is to do.
“Our aim is that one day everyone will beat cancer. The more research we can fund, the sooner that day will come.”
To enter, visit www.racefor life.org or call 0845 600 6050.