September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month – a time dedicated to informing women and their families about a disease that affects thousands of women each year.
Ovarian cancer, a type of cancer that begins in the ovaries, is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it isn’t usually diagnosed until it has progressed to an advanced stage. Many early symptoms either aren’t apparent or they are mimicking symptoms of other stomach and digestive illnesses. This is why it’s not only important to know the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, but also to pay close attention to any new or unusual changes in your body and have them addressed by a medical professional.
While ovarian cancer is most often diagnosed in postmenopausal women, there are times when younger women can be affected. Regardless of your age, if you experience any of ovarian cancer symptoms, and they last more than 2 to 3 weeks, make an appointment with your gynecologist for an examination. Since there is currently no screening test recommended for ovarian cancer, talking with your gynecologist, and receiving regular checkups, is the best step you can take toward early detection and diagnosis, when ovarian cancer is most treatable.
What You Can Do to Raise Awareness
When it comes to ovarian cancer, awareness is everything. In addition to wearing teal-colored ribbons or apparel, there are many other things you can do to raise awareness and show your support in the Phoenix community. To get involved, you may want to:
Increase Your Knowledge
Meetings are a great way to get educated and learn about support groups and events designed to spread awareness. Some organizations host meetings where you can network with ovarian cancer survivors, family members, caregivers, and volunteers. These meetings are meant to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, honor ovarian cancer survivors, and remember those lost to the disease. Programs such as Teal Tea, Teals2gether, and monthly awareness luncheons hosted by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) Tucson chapter, are some of the ways you can learn more about ovarian cancer and how you can help locally.
Attend or Host a Fundraiser
A common event many people attend to raise funds or show support is a race. Many organizations host races, such as 5ks and marathons, both locally and across the country, donating proceeds to research, as well as to local medical facilities that treat women with various types of cancer, including ovarian cancer. Interested in putting some miles on your athletic shoes? There are several running and bicycle races in the Phoenix area each year to support ovarian cancer research, support, and awareness including Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Cancer®, Run Fore Cancer, Bright Pink, and Ovarian Cycle. These are great places to start.
Donate Your Time and/or Money
Our time and our money are both very precious. Giving of yourself and/or your personal finances can help with increasing awareness of ovarian cancer among women in the Phoenix area.
Volunteering could include working exhibit booths during events, participating in local programs, or simply sharing your personal experiences with ovarian cancer if you’re a survivor or a caregiver. Helping out at your local hospital(s) is also another way you can donate your time.
Financial support is also essential to providing educational and support programs that can help raise awareness about prevention and early detection strategies. As mentioned earlier, attending or hosting an event is one way to raise funds for the cause–but donations can be directly sent to specific organizations, such as the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona, who are doing the work as well. Consider donating on your own or through your workplace (if they have a program in place to do so). Other ways you can give monetarily could include donating your car or making a stock or IRA gift through organizations like the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance.
During Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, as well as the rest of the year, we encourage all women to diligently seek educational information to help protect themselves against ovarian cancer. By raising awareness, we can improve health outcomes for all women.