Nearly 22,280 women are expected to be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. Unfortunately, because most ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage when the disease has already spread beyond the ovaries, nearly 14,240 will lose their lives. Ovarian cancer accounts for five percent of cancer deaths among women.
The five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer, if caught in early (stage one), is a promising 92 percent. If detected in an advanced stage (stage three or four), that survival rate drops to just 27 percent. Currently, there is no dependable screening for ovarian cancer, but because early diagnosis is so important, women should be aware of the risk factors and symptoms and consult their healthcare provider if they are at risk or notice any changes that may be signs of the disease.
Before playing a key role in raising $46,000 in cancer research funds last month, authoring a book about beating cancer, or tackling a hike through the Alps, Scottsdale resident Janice Coggins had to beat stage-three ovarian cancer.
In 2010, at the age of 58, Coggins received her diagnosis. Like anyone receiving such life-changing news, Coggins felt shock and fear. Yet she didn’t let it rule her for long. Only days after her diagnosis she began treatment. An unrelenting can-do attitude helped her survive, she says. “I sprang into action,” she recalls. “There was no way I was going to leave this cancerous mass inside of me one minute longer.”
Coggins refused to wear wigs or scarves — she was proud to be fighting — and winning. When she went in for a treatment, she wore bright orange shoes, just to remind herself and others “this wasn’t the end.”