May 8th, 2013, is the first World Ovarian Cancer Day. On this day, 26 ovarian cancer organizations from 17 countries around the world will unite to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day will build a sense of solidarity in the fight against ovarian cancer.
“LEARN:” Inaugural World Ovarian Cancer Day — May 8, 2013
Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers, and is characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis.
Today, May 8th, 2013, is the first World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD). On this day, ovarian cancer organizations from around the world will unite to educate their communities about ovarian cancer and its symptoms. For women living with the disease, and their families and friends, World Ovarian Cancer Day will build a sense of solidarity in the fight against the disease.
In 2009, representatives from patient organizations working in ovarian cancer around the globe came together for the first time in a two day workshop, to discuss the common issues they faced in their work.
Unlike more common cancers, there are significant challenges as the disease has been largely overlooked and underfunded to this point. Symptoms which are similar to those of less serious illnesses, the absence of an early detection test, and the resulting late diagnosis and poor outcomes means there are few survivors of the disease to become advocates. This initial meeting galvanized the community to begin thinking about what could be accomplished on a global level to begin changing this situation.
By coming together since that first meeting, the group has considered the many gaps in understanding and managing the disease, building awareness in the general public about symptoms and the importance of family history, and increasing funding for research .The idea of a Global Awareness Day for Ovarian Cancer was put forward and embraced by all participants as an important joint international action creating a powerful momentum.
A brand for World Ovarian Cancer Day, “World Embrace,” was developed and launched to the international group in March 2013 in preparation for this important day.
“EDUCATE:” Ovarian Cancer Facts:
Libby’s H*O*P*E* is dedicated to my 26-year old cousin, Elizabeth “Libby” Remick, who died from ovarian cancer in July 2008. Our mission is to educate ovarian cancer survivors and their families, as well as the general public, about ovarian cancer under the principle that “information is power.” The key to a significant reduction in deaths from ovarian cancer is early detection. Early detection is best achieved by having women listen to their bodies for the subtle, yet persistent, early warning signs & symptoms of the disease as described below. Together, we can raise money for a reliable early detection test, and ultimately a cure, for ovarian cancer.
Please take time to educate yourself with respect to the important ovarian cancer awareness facts provided below.
–Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
–In 2012, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 22,280 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 15,550 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 43 women per day. The loss of life is equivalent to 28 Boeing 747 jumbo jet crashes with no survivors every year.
–Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that some women may experience persistent, nonspecific symptoms, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.
–Ovarian cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women.
–Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
–Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in BRCA1/BRCA2 genes increase risk. Women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry are at higher risk for BRCA gene mutations.
–There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear is used to detect cervical cancer, not ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.
–If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.
–The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.
Please help us spread the word about the early warning signs & symptoms of ovarian cancer and raise money for ovarian cancer research. The life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.
“FIGHT:” The “Holy Trinity” of Major U.S. Ovarian Cancer Organizations
There are three major U.S. ovarian cancer organizations that are working to increase ovarian cancer awareness, and/or raise money to fight the disease. They are listed below. Please consider making a donation to one of these critically important nonprofit organizations.
- Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) is the largest independent organization in the U.S. that is dedicated exclusively to funding ovarian cancer research– and to finding a cure. Through its three research programs, OCRF funds many of the best researchers and the most innovative projects.
Since 1998, OCRF has awarded 63 leading medical centers 195 grants for ovarian cancer research: an investment totaling over $50 million. OCRF researchers are taking on ovarian cancer from many angles:
— Developing innovative strategies for early detection;
— Discovering genetic polymorphisms that increase risk for ovarian cancer;
— Understanding the underlying genetics and molecular biology of ovarian cancer;
— Identifying new, better targets for treatment;
— Determining how to super-charge a woman’s immune response to better fight ovarian cancer; and
— Deciphering how and why ovarian cancer spreads, and how to stop it.
You can click here to make a donation to OCRF through the Libby’s H*O*P*E*’s donation page.
- Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) is one of the foremost advocates for women with ovarian cancer in the U.S. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, OCNA advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols. OCNA also educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.
To make a donation to OCNA, click here.
- National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
The mission of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. NOCC is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer.
Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer. In addition, the NOCC provides information to assist the newly diagnosed patient, to provide hope to survivors, and to support caregivers.
To make a donation to NOCC, click here.
“INSPIRE:” Everyday Heroes in the Fight Against Ovarian Cancer.
Nearly a quarter million women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year around the world, and the disease also affects their families and friends. Please take time to visit the WOCD website and read inspirational stories about survivors, volunteers, and family members who are overcoming ovarian cancer, as well as the endeavors people are taking on to raise awareness about the disease.
At Libby’s H*O*P*E*, we are amazed each and every day by the inspirational ovarian cancer survivors and family members that we hear about, correspond with, or meet. The stories below represent a small sample of incredible individuals who have successfully fought the disease, as well as those who are currently fighting the disease with courage and grace. There are also stories about women who have died from ovarian cancer, but contributed to ovarian cancer awareness in a unique and special way during life. In addition, there are stories about doctors, advocates, and other inspirational individuals who are clearly making a difference in the fight against the disease.
— “Bald is Beautiful,” March 20, 2008.
— “Patty Franchi Flaherty Loses Battle to Ovarian Cancer, But Deserves a Long Standing Ovation,” August 19, 2008.
— “Oscar Winner Kathy Bates Is an Inspirational Ovarian Cancer Survivor,” February 25, 2009.
— “Rare Form of Ovarian Cancer Not Getting Inspirational 13 Yr. Old Down; You Can Help!,” February 26, 2009.
— “Meet Laurey Masterton, 20-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire,” March 20, 2009.
— “The Rock Band ‘N.E.D.’: Their Medical Skills Save Many; Their Music Could Save Thousands,” March 29, 2009.
— “A Wish To Build A Dream On,” May 3, 2009.
— “Husband’s Love For Wife Inspires A 9,000 Mile Bike Trek To Raise Money For Ovarian Cancer Awareness & Cancer Prevention,” May 14, 2009.
— “Gloria Johns Was Told ‘Ovarian Cancer Patients Don’t Live Long Enough … To Have Support Groups;’ She Proved Otherwise,” June 5, 2009.
— “Vox Populi:* How Do Your Define “Tragedy?“, January 22, 2010.
— “Smile, Open Your Eyes, Love and Go On,” July 28, 2010.
— “PBS Documentary, ‘The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer,'” September 21, 2010.
— “Determined Teen Loses Ovarian Cancer Battle, But Her Courage Inspires An Entire Community,” December 28, 2010.
— “Mrs. Australia Quest Finalist Veronica Cristovao Is Raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness ‘Down Under'”, February 28, 2011.
— “Whither Thou Goest, I Will Go …”, July 28, 2012.
— “Crowd Funding:” Paying Medical Bills With a Little Help From Your Friends (and Strangers Too!), January 17, 2013.
For more information on World Ovarian Cancer Day visit: www.ovariancancerday.org
Each participating country is linked through the dedicated website which has been established for World Ovarian Cancer Day. To find out more about activities in each country, please contact the local organization directly through the website at http://www.ovariancancerday.org/get-involved/