A new series of Dr. Doireann's Podcast has been launched by The Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ISGO) as a valuable resource for patients undergoing treatment for gynaecological cancers.

Hosted by G.P., Dr. Doireann O’Leary, and sponsored by Breakthrough Cancer Research, the podcast series shares the stories and first-hand experiences of people who have had a cancer diagnosis.

They are joined by healthcare professionals, who provide expert advice, and the podcasts also delve into cutting-edge research and advancements, which aim to improve survival and treatment options.  

Episodes include topics focused on specific cancers like ovarian cancer (in particular PARP inhibition) and gestational trophoblastic disease, to topics that bridge all cancer types including experience with palliative care services.

People share their stories of being diagnosed with a genetic cancer syndrome and what this has meant for them and their families as well as patient and public involvement in research. They also explore the psychological and psychosexual consequences of cancer treatment.

Podcast host Dr. Doireann O’Leary said: “It’s a privilege to host the ISGO podcast. The patient voice is central to this series. I learned so much from the patient advocates who courageously shared their story and lived experience to help others.

"I also got to speak to the dedicated consultants who care for them; their lifelong dedication to providing evidence-based care with empathy is inspiring.

"This series is a must listen for all women; we discuss gynaecological cancers, ‘red flag’ symptoms never to ignore, how to ‘speak up’ and advocate for yourself in the oftentimes overwhelming healthcare setting. We say the ‘unsaids.'

"For me, having these conversations was educational, uplifting, and inspiring and I know it will be for the listener too!"

Dr. Dearbhaile Collins, President of ISGO, remarked: “Our vision is to deliver accurate information to the public from both specialists and patients themselves, to create easily understandable and accessible audios.

"We are delighted with the engagement from Irish experts in their fields and the frank and insightful personal experiences from patients.

"ISGO looks forward to being involved in future podcasts in other areas of gynecological cancer.”

Tamsin Finlay, one of the contributors to the podcast series, remarked: “This was a very empowering and therapeutic platform to air my journey of infertility with cancer and my resilience to a state of acceptance and happiness.”

Jenny Maginn said: “I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. A year of surgeries and treatments took my independence away and made me very reliant on family and friends. It was important to me after treatment to get back to as normal a life as possible. I wanted to feel valued and to be doing something worthwhile.

"The opportunity to create a podcast came at the right time. I was ready to be heard so that I could use my experience to help and give me a sense of purpose again. I feel empowered that I have found something I feel passionate about, that I can do and can feel valued for, whilst most importantly, making a difference for those affected by cancer.”

In the Republic of Ireland, over 1,400 gynecological cancers are diagnosed annually with 591 diagnosed annually in Northern Ireland, representing over 12% of female cancers. Symptoms of gynecological cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, feeling full too quickly, bloating or difficulty eating, pelvic pain or pressure, abdominal or back pain, a more frequent need to urinate, constipation, itching burning, or changes to the vulva and changes in vulval color or skin. If you have been experiencing any of these, please visit your healthcare provider.

Dr. Doireann’s Podcast is available wherever you get your podcasts, including here on Spotify

For further information and support regarding gynaecological cancers in Ireland, visit ThisISGO.ie.

Here is a rundown of each of the six episodes of the new series of Dr. Doireann's Podcast:

Episode 1: The Lived Experience of Genetic Testing

Krista tells her story of having preventative surgery after learning she had a BRCA gene mutation. Kat tells us about her experience of Ovarian and Endometrial (Uterine) cancers and Lynch Syndrome

Episode 2: Ovarian Cancer and PARP Inhibitors 

Dr. Dearbhaile Collins, Consultant Medical Oncologist explains medications called PARP Inhibitors, a recent breakthrough in ovarian cancer treatment. Jenny tells us of her experience of living with ovarian cancer and taking a PARP Inhibitor.

Episode 3: Redefining Palliative Care

Dr. Karie Dennehy and Dr. Miriam Colleran, Consultants in Palliative Medicine help us to understand their role and how they support patients and families. Anne shares her own experience of palliative care and ovarian cancer.

Episode 4: Psychosexual Impact of Fertility Treatment and Cancer

Dr. Doireann speaks with Tasmin who discusses the impact of fertility and cancer treatment had, and still has, on her relationship. Dr. Yvonne O’Meara, Systemic Psychotherapist and Psychosocial Oncologist gives expert insight into the psychosexual impact of cancer on relationships.

Episode 5: Lived experience of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Dr. John Coulter, Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecological Oncologist and Clinical Lead of the National Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Centre at Cork University Maternity Hospital where he explains Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, also known as ‘Molar Pregnancy’. Rachel, who is a patient advocate, shares her own experience of what it is like to have a Molar Pregnancy and the impact it has had on her life.

Episode 6: Public and Patient Involvement

PPI is where patients and members of the public get involved in cancer research, working in partnership with healthcare professionals, scientists, and allied health, to improve the patient experience and to ultimately make an impact on patient outcomes. In this episode, Dr. Doireann speaks with Sharon O’Toole, a senior research fellow at Trinity College Dublin working in the area of gynecological cancer, ISGO Board member, and co-founded their patient and public involvement (PPI) group.

Bridget, who is a patient advocate, also explains what motivates her to get involved in PPI projects, how she protects herself psychologically and emotionally whilst advocating for patients.

You can listen to the first episode of Dr. Doireann O’Leary's podcast on gynaecological cancer here: