September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. Even though today is the end of September, there are many hard working people who won’t stop advocating for ovarian cancer awareness all year long. During the month of September there were many fundraisers, runs, and walks all around the country to raise money for research, to provide support and assistance for ovarian cancer patients, and to bring awareness to ovarian cancer.
As an ovarian cancer survivor, this cause is near and dear to my heart. I am one of the lucky ones whose cancer was diagnosed at an early stage. Most women are not so lucky.
Early detection is very important in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Most patients are diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. When detected early, the five year survivor rate is over 92%. Ladies, please learn the symptoms and listen to your body. Do not ignore the symptoms! Talk to your doctor if any of the symptoms persist for more than two weeks.
- There is no diagnostic test for Ovarian Cancer.
- A pap smear does NOT detect Ovarian Cancer.
- Symptoms include bloating, pelvic/abdominal pain, feeling full quickly, fatigue, urinary urgency and/or frequency, bowel changes, menstrual irregularities.
The highest occurrence of ovarian cancer is in women over 50 (I was 59). Other risk factors are:
- Family history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colon cancer.
- Women who have never had children are at higher risk.
- Having gene mutations of BRCA 1, BRCA2, or Lynch syndrome.
Tell Every Amazing Lady (T.E.A.L) About Ovarian Cancer is one of the organizations supporting ovarian cancer awareness.
One of the ways they do this is by organizing and putting on walks in several cities around the United States. Several years ago, a patient from Savannah, Georgia reached out to them for help and the idea of a TEAL walk in Savannah was born. This weekend I participated in the 6th annual Savannah walk.
It was a very emotional day being with other survivors and their supporters. So glad to see so many turn out to support this worthy cause.