Worry not—no, men cannot have ovarian cancer. However, their suffering from an ovarian cancer diagnosis of the woman in their lives is REAL. Men, too, endure the pain of learning their wife, mother, sister, etc. has ovarian cancer. They research online for weeks about the disease, soak in the latest cancer news, attend doctor appointments, and experience exciting highs and gut-wrenching lows. It’s a roller coaster ride that so many women and men go through, yet the men are often overlooked.

Why is this? Obviously, men do not deal with nausea, fatigue, and hair loss like many ovarian cancer patients. Though they do not physically suffer, they should not be ignored in the ovarian cancer journey. Men often talk about their feelings of helplessness—there is nothing they can do or say; or what they are doing is not enough. Men confess that they would prefer to take the place of their loved one—taking the pain, suffering, and anguish on themselves. This “feeling of helplessness” can be heartbreaking and frustrating. In fact, men play a very important role acting as chauffeurs, therapists, in-home nurses, cancer news aficionados, and personal support groups. They are amazingly strong and it is important that we, as a community, recognize and salute those men who give everything for their “Teal Magnolia” survivor, as we lovingly call them at the Ovarian Cancer Institute.

So, how do I show the man in my life—my “battle buddy” against ovarian cancer—my gratitude? Great question. Simple. Sit them down, look them in the eye and give them a hug followed by, “Thank you for everything you’ve done, are doing, and will do in the future.” Anything else above and beyond is up to you, ladies. Simple acknowledgements on a regular basis can make a huge difference. Get to know his love language: give him a gift, spend quality time doing something he enjoys, or find a way to serve him. Make a plan and intentionally focus on what’s important to him and he will feel appreciated and loved.

At the Ovarian Cancer Institute, we pride ourselves on offering not only the latest cancer news and research updates, but also in understanding the stories of the women, and men, suffering from ovarian cancer. Your journeys inspire us to complete our mission to develop innovative research leading to earlier detection, investigate newer modalities of treatment, and to heighten women’s awareness of the disease itself. Please consider partnering with the man in your life—your “battle buddy”—to help us complete our mission. Join us! We’d love the opportunity to get to know you both through one of the many events or volunteer opportunities we offer throughout the year.

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