Ten days ago marked the beginning of Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, the 4th one since I was diagnosed. I didn’t even know there was a month for it, so we all have work to do to continue to spread the word. I still have conversations every single week with people who really don’t know anything about ovarian cancer. The first comment is always – oh, they don’t check for that with the annual PAP smear? No, there is no diagnostic test for ovarian cancer YET. This is precisely why so many women are diagnosed in late stages with a poor survival rate. And that is precisely why it is so important to take action in 2 specific ways – education, and research.
Education – Know the symptoms:
· Cramping abdominal pain
· Loss of appetite
· Urinary and bowel discomfort
My challenge to you this year – talk to 10 friends about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and encourage THEM to talk to 10 friends. In the end, people who are plugged in are typically people who have been impacted by the disease, either personally or with someone close to them. Until we can educate BEYOND that group, we will continue to see late stage diagnoses and too many women dying from this cancer that whispers.
Organizations like The Ovarian Cancer Institute are working every day to dramatically impact ovarian cancer. OCI funds research that has led to the discovery of a diagnostic test for early-stage ovarian cancer that is 100% sensitive and specific. We are also working in the exciting field of precision medicine which investigates methods to choose the precise treatment for a cancer based on such things as genetic aberration and structural abnormalities. This would take the guess work out of therapeutics. On a final note, we are looking at ways to deliver drugs directly to the cancer cells instead of giving the treatment as an intravenous infusion. For more information, and to support our efforts, visit our website here.
So this September, make it a point to support ovarian cancer awareness. For me, I plan to wear my teal ribbon every day and talk to as many people as I can. And when I see a business supporting ovarian cancer awareness, I will make it a point to appreciate them and spend my money there (I’m looking at you Newks!). If I see a special on the news, I plan to write a letter of appreciation. It’s so important to reach more people. Be a part of that.
Thanks – those of us in the fight really appreciate it.