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September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Ovarian cancer forms in the tissues of the ovary and can be fatal if not detected early. According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, but accounts for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. In 2012, nearly 21,500 will be diagnosed and approximately 15,500 women will die. If the cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is greater than 90%.
Each year, the Massachusetts based Ovarian Cancer Awareness Coalition comes together to alert women about the symptoms and warning signs of ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Cancer Awareness Coalition is made up of leading government agencies, non-profits and medical professionals who are at the forefront of educating the public about this often deadly disease. This year's members include the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center and the M. Patricia Cronin Foundation.
"Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often confused with other ailments. Education and awareness are critical to survival. We want women to know that this is a cancer that can be beaten if detected early," explained Nancy Farrell, President of the M. Patricia Cronin Foundation.
Recent research suggests that together the four symptoms of: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary urgency or frequency may be associated with ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer symptoms may also include: a feeling of fullness in the pelvic or abdominal region, gas, nausea, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea, menstrual disorders, pain during intercourse, fatigue and backaches.
This year's statewide educational effort will include television advertisements, an interactive webcast and a grassroots effort specifically designed to generate awareness about detection and prevention of ovarian cancer. Those interested in learning more about ovarian cancer will be encouraged to visit the Coalition's web site at www.ovariancancerawareness.org. The web site links to all partner organizations and offers critical information about this disease.
"We are learning more each day about ovarian cancer. Boston medical professionals are at the forefront of research and clinical trials. Research drives progress. Collectively we must actively support research and advocacy so that we can continue our progress in fighting this disease," said Dr. Ursula Matulonis, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.
Ovarian cancer is treated at the Gynecologic Cancer Treatment Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.
(In Photo from Left to Right – Donna Walthall, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Nancy Farrell, M. Patricia Cronin Foundation, Alexi Wright, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Senate President Therese Murray, Cheryl Bartlett, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Anne Tonachel, Ovarian Cancer Survivor.)