May 26, 2024

Brentford star on ‘distressing’ cancer battle ahead of title-challenging comeback season

Brentford Women’s defender Mollie Dench shared her story of determination and perseverance in the face of adversity over the past 12 months.

Brentford star Mollie Dench has opened up on her ‘distressing’ cancer battle that halted the full-back’s first season at the Bedfont Recreation Ground

The defender signed for the club last summer from QPR and has admitted that playing alongside fellow former Hoops stars Eshe Davis and Afiya Johnson was a ‘big factor’ in that decision.

After a promising pre-season, Dench managed just a few games of the season before being sidelined until January with a serious ankle injury.

Dench told the Brentford FC site: “It was a frustrating period for me to say the least, I was so excited to get a good season under my belt with Brentford so to get injured so early on was tough. I understand injuries are a part of the game and thought I would be back out there sooner rather than later which wasn’t the case, making it even tougher for me.

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“After a few months out, I was ready to return, I’d put so much effort into resting my ankle making sure I did my rehabilitation properly and bringing my fitness levels back to where they needed to be, only for my ankle to let me down again. Of course, it was an upsetting time, but nothing compared to what I went through next.”

When ready to bounce back from the setback and nail down a role in the Brentford Women’s side, the player began to feel stomach pains during training. These persisted and led to Dench seeking medical advice.

The full-back remembered feelings of fatigue and shooting pains in her lower abdomen. Dench added: “At first, I was told it was nothing serious and that it was most likely just muscle strains which were causing discomfort, but the pain was only getting worse. It took a few trips to the doctors before they realised it could be a problem with my appendix and eventually, I was transferred to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital where I had laparoscopy surgery.


Mollie Dench: My Cancer Story | Brentford FC

That process saw surgeons decide to remove Dench’s appendix in a bid to ease the pain but while recovering from the operation, pathology results found a neuroendocrine tumour growing inside her appendix, a rare form of cancer.

Dench was then transferred to cancer specialists at Churchill Hospital in Oxford but endured an anxious two-month wait for more test results to confirm whether the cancer had been cleared.

She said: “It was obviously very overwhelming, I knew that something wasn’t right but the last thing I thought was that I had cancer. The surgery was more just to see what was going on inside my stomach so to find out that I had a tumour was very distressing for myself and my family, but I don’t think it really hit me until I was given the all-clear.

Brentford Women are lining up a title challenge next season (Image: Getty Images)

I was put on lots of medication following the surgery and was still feeling poorly but over time I was slowly beginning to get better. It was a really difficult time as I was just waiting for news on the situation but finally, two months after the tumour was discovered I was given the news me and my family all wanted so desperately: I’m cancer free!

“During the time I spent in hospital, I don’t think it really sunk in that I had cancer, it wasn’t until I was on the way home in the car with my family that we all became really emotional. In those situations I think it’s impossible to not fear the worst and you’re just hoping for good news so when that finally came after an incredibly tough few months, we were just all so relieved.”

Dench is now recovered and ready to make an impact on the upcoming season for the Bees, outlining a league title as the goal for the campaign after the side finished second in the London and South East Women’s Regional Football League last time out.

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