Those that know me, know that I've been a long-time breast cancer awareness advocate and have worked very hard to raise money to help fight this serious disease.
October is right around the corner, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I will be supporting the efforts of individuals and companies that are helping to combat the ugly that is breast cancer.
But, I bet a good portion of you didn't know that September is the official Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It's OK if you didn't know. I didn't know either. That is until Jean Roth clued me in about it via Twitter while I was headed out for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Los Angeles.
I read Jean's post “Feel the Teal: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month”, and was particularly moved by the powerful story of Susan R. Frank that Jean included in the post.
Susan is a scientist and was diagnosed with Stage 3C metastatic ovarian cancer at the age of 46. She has been battling the disease for the last seven years. Her story is one of courage and strength and I applaud her for willingness to talk about what she's been through in order to heighten the familiarity of ovarian cancer.
After reading the article I started to research Ovarian Cancer and found out some alarming statistics:
Ovarian cancer is one of the most deadly of women's cancers. Each year, approximately 21,500 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2008, approximately 15,500 women will die in the United States from ovarian cancer. Many women don't seek help until the disease has begun to spread, but if detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 93%. Recent research suggests that together the four symptoms of: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary urgency or frequency may be associated with ovarian cancer.
– Information provided by OvarianCancerAwareness.org
I also found out that breast cancer and ovarian cancer are often linked, but unlike breast cancer, there is no routine screening process for ovarian cancer and as such, it is not typically caught in it's early stages.
The symptoms mentioned above are very subtle and can often be confused with those considered as part of the natural processes of being a woman.
This post is meant to remind women to be their own advocates when it comes to their bodies. If something doesn't feel right for longer than two weeks, it's worth talking to your doctor.