Save a Life: It Could Be Your Own!
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
The month of September welcomes many things: back-to-school, cuddly sweaters and the crisp crunch of fallen leaves. It also ushers in a critical season of cancer awareness.
You’ll see that awareness through teal lights illuminating the historic Chicago skyline. Teal lights will also brighten State Street from Van Buren to Lake. Store windows along North Michigan Avenue will feature information about a cancer that can strike many of the women who shop and work there.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and before you turn the page, know that Ovarian Cancer is a woman’s deadliest cancer. Approximately 16,500 women will be diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer this year, and just over 22,000 will die of the disease. It affects about one in every 68 women. Females of all ages – sometimes as young as five years old – can develop ovarian cancer. There is no definitive test.
“If I hadn’t known the signs of ovarian cancer, I would have missed an early diagnosis,” said Elizabeth Isham Cory, President of the Board of Directors, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC). “I would have ignored the bloating, the leg pain, the general discomfort, and I would probably not be alive today.”
By knowing the signs and symptoms, you can save a life, and the life you save could be your own!
“I can have a mammogram, do a self-exam, and feel as if I am doing my part to protect myself against breast cancer,” Cory continues. “But there’s no test for ovarian cancer. The PAP does not test for it. It is up to each woman and girl to know the signs and symptoms, and see a doctor if things do not feel right.”
Symptoms include bloating, pelvic pain, feeling full quickly, feeling the need to urinate frequently. Signs can also include fatigue, upset stomach, back pain, constipation and menstrual changes.
Women who suspect unusual symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. A gynecologic oncologist specializes in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
“All women are at risk of developing this disease,” explains Karen Young, NOCC Illinois Chapter Coordinator. “Symptoms can be very vague, but they will increase over time. Early detection increases your survival rate, and can lead to a 90% cure rate!”
“Ovarian Cancer is more than a woman’s disease,” continues Sandra Cord, NOCC Illinois Chapter Coordinator. “Together, we can make a difference. We are seeing families torn apart with the loss of a mother, wife, sister, daughter, grandmother. We need to talk about ovarian cancer so more women can have an early diagnosis and possible cure. We call it Taking Early Action to Live (TEAL).”
The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition will be sponsoring several events in September to raise awareness and funding for research.
- Throughout the month, teal lights will illuminate State Street from Van Buren to Lake, as well as North Michigan Avenue and many downtown buildings, including Union Station, the Willis Tower, the Wrigley Building and others. Signs and posters will feature the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Share that information with the people you love!
- On Sunday, September 8, Team TEAL will participate in the Race to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer at the 17th Annual Chicago Half Marathon!
- On Friday evening, September 20, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition will host its annual Teal Lights Celebration and Fundraiser at Venue One. Guest speakers include Dr. Meghan Tenney of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Learn about the signs and symptoms and join us in an event that we hope will help save at least one life. Short presentations, yummy food, a silent auction and much, much more will be featured. Tickets can be purchased by calling NOCC Illinois at 312 226 9410.
Please join us in spreading the word, raising funds for further education and research, and breaking the silence surrounding ovarian cancer.
For further information
Photos: Courtesy of Chicago Chapter of NOCC