Carlingford resident fights the silent killer

CARLINGFORD resident Yolandi Franken might be in a competition but it’s not winning she cares about.

Sure, being crowned Mrs Australia 2014 would be nice but she’s more interested in raising awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer.

February is Ovarian Cancer Month.

Mrs Franken knows what it’s like when a regular check-up at the doctor becomes life-changing — as she did when cancerous cells were discovered in her cervix.

‘‘It was such a horrible time. Two years back and forth from hospital. They would remove a bit and I would go for a check up and they would have to remove more.

‘‘I got so sick and tired of it,’’ Mrs Franken said.

‘‘They caught it in the very early stages, which is why it is important for me to get the word out for ovarian cancer because there is no early detection test for it.’’

Mrs Franken, who works as a television actor and producer, is one of the finalists in this year’s Mrs Australia competition.

‘‘I haven’t been in the competition before and wasn’t shy because I have a background in acting and modelling, so it wasn’t too far for me,’’ she said.

‘‘Because I had some health issues myself, I wanted to promote women’s health issues and try to create awareness.’’

Mrs Franken said she hoped to raise $5000 before the final in April, where she will compete in categories including swimwear, health and fitness and a Q&A.

‘‘I think a lot of people keep it to themselves because of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, like bloating or having trouble eating, are not that uncommon,’’ she said.

Four most common symptoms of ovarian cancer:

■ Abdominal or pelvic pain.

■ Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating.

■ Needing to urinate often or urgently.

■ Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.

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