Saskatchewan·The Morning Edition

Sask. model Elly Mayday shares fight with ovarian cancer

Elly Mayday says there's no early screening test for ovarian cancer so young women need to be alerted to the symptoms.

Elly Mayday says young women need to take control of their own health

Ashley Luther, known publicly as Elly Mayday, kept modeling, even after hair loss due to chemotherapy. (Aparte Photography/Instagram )

"It's like being hit by a bus." 

That's how 27-year-old Elly Mayday describes the day she was told she had cancer.

Mayday is a successful model, originally from Aylesbury, Saskatchewan. She now has a successful career in New York City and has been using her story to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. 

The first symptoms showed up when she was just 23.

"I experienced lower back pain, bloating in my stomach, I felt full without eating very much," said Mayday.

There is no early screening test, and CT scans and ultrasounds were inconclusive. 

Elly Mayday has shared her story with her Facebook followers. (Submitted to CBC/Elly Mayday)

"It can spread like a spider's web. It's like walking into a room and whipping around a paint brush," Mayday said.

Because of her age, she said cancer was never seriously considered.

One doctor gave her morphine for her back pain and sent her home.

Two years after the first symptoms appeared, Mayday became more aggressive and pushed to see specialists. 

A laparoscopic biopsy revealed she had low grade serous carcinoma, a rare form of ovarian cancer.  The diagnoses was shocking but she's glad she pushed.

"I would be dead if I didn't follow my instincts," said Mayday.

There was a tough road ahead.  Mayday had five surgeries, including a hysterectomy, and three months of chemotherapy. 

Elly Mayday says doctors didn't associate early symptoms with cancer because of her age. (Submitted CBC/Elly Mayday)

Throughout, she has shared her journey with her followers on Facebook and made a point of modelling while bald.

"I need to take care of the young girls that need me or need this voice. That's my way of parenting for now," said Mayday.

She said young women need to look out for their own health and be their own advocates in the medical system.

 As for her own health, Mayday says her type of cancer has a high rate of reoccurrence. 

"I just take each day as it comes. Right now I'm stable and life is good," said Mayday.

Ellie Mayday is speaking Wednesday, March 23,  at the University of Regina.