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On Sept. 6 at Boston City Hall Plaza, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, along with a coalition of six organizations, launched a month-long campaign to promote ovarian cancer awareness. The group known as — OvarianCancerAwareness.org — is dedicated to educating the public about the subtle symptoms of ovarian cancer to promote early detection.
If detected early, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is more than 90 percent. Yet today, more than 15,000 women die from the disease each year, often, because it isn't detected until after it has spread. In addition, women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer can also be at higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.
"This is a disease for which education and awareness is critical to survival," says state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, chairman of the House Committee on Public Health. "For this reason, the distribution of information about ovarian cancer is a significant responsibility for the medical community, public officials, and society as a whole."
According to Ursula Matulonis, MD, director of Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, "Some progress is being made in the fight against ovarian cancer, but cutbacks in federal funding for research at this critical juncture are a threat." She urged all to "follow the footsteps of breast cancer advocates in rallying for ovarian cancer research and awareness."
"The goal of this campaign is to provide the residents of Massachusetts with lifesaving information about the subtle warning signs of ovarian cancer and the value of early detection," says Donna Walthall, director of Marketing at Dana-Farber. "In addition to print, radio, transit, billboards, and TV advertisements, we are also employing grassroots outreach efforts and symbolic messaging, such as lighting the Zakim Bridge teal, the color of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon."
The campaign is led by a coalition of six organizations: the state chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, the M. Patricia Cronin Foundation to Fight Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Education Awareness Network, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Dana-Farber/Brigham & Women's Cancer Center and Ovations for the Cure.
These efforts encourage everyone to learn more about this disease by visiting www.OvarianCancerAwareness.org. This website also provides background on each of the organizations that are working together to generate greater awareness of this often-fatal disease.