Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Each year, more than 21,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the United States, resulting in over 15,500 deaths. It is the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers, affecting approximately 1 in 70 women. Because there is no reliable diagnostic screening, it often goes undetected or is misdiagnosed until it has advanced to the later stages. Less than 20% of cases are discovered in the early stage. Due to late diagnoses and a very high recurrence rate (70-90%), less than 50% of women make it to the 5 year milestone. Ovarian cancer does not discriminate and can affect females of any age and ethnic background. It continues to be one of the most underfunded cancers and the lack of public awareness and education is of critical concern. Although the symptoms of ovarian cancer often are not intense in the early stages, they are NOT silent. Once thought to be a ‘silent disease’, research indicates that 95% of women DO have vague but persistent symptoms. These symptoms are not always useful for diagnosis since they may be indicative of other less serious conditions. If any of the following single or combination of symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, consult your physician and insist that a manual exam and transvaginal ultrasound be performed. If any abnormalities are detected, a referral to a gynecologic oncologist may be in order.

• Bloating

• Pelvic or abdominal pain

• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

• Urinary symptoms (frequency or urgency)

Other symptoms may include:

• Extreme fatigue

• Indigestion, heartburn, or upset stomach

• Lower back and/or leg pain

• Change in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea)

• Unexplained weight gain or loss

• Shortness of breath

• Menstrual irregularities (including post menopausal bleeding)

• Pain during intercourse

*A PAP Test does NOT detect ovarian cancer!*

About the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation (DOCF)

Dorianne Short, an ovarian cancer survivor diagnosed in 2003, founded the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation in 2009 as the only local premier all-volunteer non-profit ovarian cancer organization. The mission of the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation is to increase awareness and education about ovarian cancer among women and healthcare professionals in Delaware and the surrounding vicinity. The Foundation is committed to research and provides support for women affected by ovarian cancer.

DOCF is pleased to announce the Delaware Ovarian Cancer Foundation Research Initiative, supporting ovarian cancer research at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute. DOCF holds 2 annual major fundraisers...the Teal Ribbon 5K to Fight Ovarian Cancer every May and the Teal Ribbon Luncheon and Silent Auction, held in September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Also during awareness month, DOCF holds its Salon Awareness Program and participates in the Turn the Towns Teal National Campaign. Teal Tuesdays across Delaware encourages everyone to help increase awareness by wearing ‘teal’. For more information on projects, activities, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities visit www.deovariancancer.org or DOCF’s FaceBook page.