Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ovarian Cancer Month – A Time to Reflect


cancer cancer months
Teal Ribbon represents ovarian cancer awareness
Cancer is something that can touch anyone at any time in different ways. It can strike someone we know, a friend or family member, or even ourselves. September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It is the perfect time to reflect on our own health and wellness and the health of those we love.

Ovarian cancer diagnosis is difficult because it is often not found until the later stages of the disease. Symptoms can be mistaken for a mild irritation or pain that is not obvious enough to trigger a diagnosis or alert us to go to the doctor in the first place. Part of the problem may be that the symptoms are often common issues that many people have from time to time.

According to the nonprofit group, Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation, Inc. (TROCRF), some common symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

•    Feelings of bloating, discomfort or fullness after eating
•    Frequent or urgent need to urinate
•    Backaches
•    Constipation or diarrhea
•    Nausea
•    Shortness of breath

None of these symptoms really screams cancer.  So what should a woman do if she has one or more of them? It's important to talk to your doctor whenever you have unusual or uncomfortable symptoms. If you feel something is out of the ordinary, check with your doctor. Don’t second guess yourself and listen to your body.

Ovarian Cancer Statistics

A silent killer of women, ovarian cancer is one of the most aggressive of the gynecologic cancers. It can be especially devastating to women in their childbearing years that may not have started their families yet.  More than 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year. Finding a cure for ovarian cancer and funding cancer research is more important now than ever before.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance reports the following statistics on ovarian cancer:
  • Women have a 1 in 71 chance of developing invasive ovarian cancer in their lifetimes.
  • They have a 1 in 95 lifetime risk of dying from an invasive form of this disease.
  • About 15,500 women die from ovarian cancer each year.
Ovarian cancers grasp on the female reproductive system is staggering. “Approximately one out of every ten ovarian cancer cases is hereditary,” says the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. The statistics have some women even questioning whether they should have their ovaries removed to lower their risk of ovarian cancer. Some consider this life-changing surgery even if the disease just seems to run in the family. The treatment options are very personal for individuals facing this disease. Women should consult their doctors as well as doing their own research about the disease before making a decision.

A Personal View

My own life was touched by ovarian cancer when my friend developed ovarian cancer. It was no easy battle, but her spirit remained strong and she won her battle. Her enthusiasm and joyful personality warms the hearts of those around her. All of us who know her are so thankful that Sandie was blessed with a successful return to good health.

My friend, an author, and some of her fellow writers penned a set of devotionals that are sold so a portion of the proceeds can go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. This ovarian cancer society continually works to provide funding for research to successfully identify and treat ovarian cancer and to find a cure.

If someone you know is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it is important to show your support and to keep a positive attitude. According to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, the Journal of Clinical Oncology reported that ovarian cancer patients with a strong network of friends and acquaintances experience successful recoveries and longer lives.

Fighting Back

Showing your support to find a cure and to further research is both noble and admirable. If you don’t have a lot of money or time, don't worry. Anything you can do to help goes a long way.

Here are some ways to get involved this month:
  • Participate in an ovarian cancer walk. Find upcoming walks on the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition’s website.
  • Attend an benefit, such as a 5k race or a concert.
  • Make a donation to your desired ovarian cancer foundation to help fund ovarian cancer research.
  • Volunteer your time with a local ovarian cancer alliance or cancer fundraiser.
  • Display cancer ribbons for the cancers that have affected people you know. Proceeds from purchasing a cancer ribbon often benefit organizations.
Cancer awareness months are a great way to drive support for research and the quest for a cure. Show your support any way you can. If you know someone battling ovarian cancer let them know they are in your thoughts.

If you have other ideas or points you would like to share about ovarian cancer or ovarian cancer month, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Kathryn M. D’Imperio
Contributing Writer

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