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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 December 2006, 00:33 GMT
'Cancer scares helped me diet'
Louise Diss
Louise now feels much healthier
Experts are warning that growing levels of obesity will fuel a big rise in cancer diagnoses.

They are concerned that many people are not aware that being seriously overweight significantly increases the odds of developing the disease.

Louise Diss needed not one, but two cancer scares to realise her weight was putting her health at serious risk.

At her heaviest, Louise, 45, tipped the scales at 24 stone (152kg). She did manage to halve her weight, but soon put back on two-thirds of the weight she had lost.

Her first health scare came 15 years ago when she developed abdominal pains, and was eventually diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.

She also had part of her cervix removed following evidence of the presence of pre-cancerous cells.

Her doctors told her at the time that she should lose weight, but she felt their attitude was not helpful.

"Being told to go home and lose weight without any help, or further explanation was not encouraging," she said.

New pains

Five years ago Louise suddenly started to get acute abdominal pain for the second time.

She was admitted to hospital, but spent almost two days in A&E without a diagnosis.

She had private health insurance through work, and eventually her employers pushed to get her transferred to a private hospital.

Louise Diss
Louise was once double her current size

Here, she had a scan which showed up an abnormal growth in her womb.

Mindful of her previous scare, Louise feared the worst. However, doctors were able to remove the growth which proved to be benign.

Louise, who was also a smoker, finally realised that her unhealthy lifestyle was putting her future at risk.

She had also been told that her excess weight had made it more difficult than it should have been to interpret her scan.

First she gave up smoking, and then she set about getting her weight down. Once again, she shed eight stone - but this time she has kept the weight off.

"Suddenly, I realised my own mortality, I realised how much my health was at risk because of my weight," she said.

"I have two children and a grandchild, and I want to be there for them."

Louise said she had felt "much, much healthier" since she had lost weight.

"It is no good relying on others to patch you up. You have to care about yourself enough to want to look after yourself, and give yourself the best possible chance of a good, long, healthy life."


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