Today, U.S. President Barack Obama designated September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ will honor the women who have lost their lives to the disease, support those who are currently battling the disease, and celebrate with those who have beaten the disease.
Today, U.S. President Barack Obama designated September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Libby’s H*O*P*E*™ will honor the women who have lost their lives to the disease, support those who are currently battling the disease, and celebrate with those who have beaten the disease. This month, medical doctors, research scientists, and ovarian cancer advocates renew their commitment to develop a reliable early screening test, improve current treatments, discover new groundbreaking therapies, and ultimately, defeat the most lethal gynecologic cancer.
Let us begin this month with several important facts relating to ovarian cancer. Please take time to review these facts — they may save your life or that of a loved one.
Ovarian Cancer Facts
- Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
- In 2011, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that there will be approximately 21,990 new ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S. ACS estimates that 15,460 U.S. women will die from the disease, or about 42 women per day or 1 women every 30 minutes.
- Ovarian cancer is not a “silent” disease; it is a “subtle” disease. Recent studies indicate that women with ovarian cancer are more like to experience four persistent, nonspecific symptoms as compared with women in the general population, such as (i) bloating, (ii) pelvic or abdominal pain, (iii) difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, or (iv) urinary urgency or frequency. Women who experience such symptoms daily for more than a few weeks should seek prompt medical evaluation.
- Several other symptoms have been commonly reported by women with ovarian cancer. These symptoms include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation and menstrual irregularities. However, these other symptoms are not as useful in identifying ovarian cancer because they are also found in equal frequency in women in the general population who do not have the disease.
- Although the median age of a woman with ovarian cancer at initial diagnosis is 63, the disease cancer can afflict adolescent, young adult, and mature women. Ovarian cancer does not discriminate based upon age.
- Pregnancy and the long-term use of oral contraceptives reduce the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Women who have had breast cancer, or who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer may have increased risk. Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene increase a woman’s lifetime risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Women of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry are at higher risk (1 out of 40) for inherited BRCA gene mutations.
- There is no reliable screening test for the detection of early stage ovarian cancer. Pelvic examination only occasionally detects ovarian cancer, generally when the disease is advanced. A Pap smear cannot detect ovarian cancer. However, the combination of a thorough pelvic exam, transvaginal ultrasound, and a blood test for the tumor marker CA-125 may be offered to women who are at high risk of ovarian cancer and to women who have persistent, unexplained symptoms like those listed above.
- If diagnosed at the localized stage, the 5-year ovarian cancer survival rate is 92%; however, only about 19% of all cases are detected at this stage, usually fortuitously during another medical procedure.
- The 10-year relative survival rate for all disease stages combined is only 38%.
Help Spread the Word To “B-E-A-T” Ovarian Cancer
B = bloating that is persistent and does not come and go
E = eating less and feeling fuller
A =abdominal or pelvic pain
T = trouble with urination (urgency or frequency)
Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor. Prompt medical evaluation may lead to detection at the earliest possible stage of the disease. Early stage diagnosis is associated with an improved prognosis.
Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release September 01, 2011
Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
NATIONAL OVARIAN CANCER AWARENESS MONTH, 2011
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Ovarian cancer continues to have one of the highest mortality rates of any cancer, and it is a leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the United States. This month, we remember the mothers, sisters, and daughters we have lost to ovarian cancer, and we extend our support to those living with this disease. We also reaffirm our commitment to raising awareness about ovarian cancer, and to advancing our screening and treatment capabilities for the thousands of American women who will be diagnosed this year.
Ovarian cancer touches women of all backgrounds and ages. Because of a lack of early symptoms and effective screening tests, ovarian cancer is often not detected in time for successful interventions. It is crucial that women know how to recognize the warning signs of gynecological cancers and can detect the disease as early as possible. I encourage all women to learn about risk factors, including family history, and to discuss possible symptoms, including abdominal pain, with their doctor. Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, a wide range of preventive screenings are available to women without any copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance.
My Administration is committed to supporting the women, families, and professionals working to end this disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services have started a campaign to educate women on cancers affecting reproductive organs. The National Cancer Institute is researching new ways to detect ovarian cancer, publishing a comprehensive study of the most aggressive types of ovarian cancer, and conducting clinical trials for new combinations of therapy. And this year, agencies across the Federal Government, from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense, have committed to supporting ovarian cancer prevention and treatment research.
So many lives have been touched by ovarian cancer — from the women who fight this disease, to the families who join their loved ones in fighting their battle. In the memory of all the brave women who have lost their lives to ovarian cancer, and in support of generations of women to come, let us recommit to reaching a safer, healthier future for all our citizens.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2011 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health-care providers, and research institutions to raise ovarian cancer awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. And I urge women across the country to talk to their health-care providers and learn more about this disease.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
- Presidential Proclamation–National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month 2011, issued September 1, 2011.
- Ovarian Cancer Symptoms Consensus Statement, Originating Organizations — Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, Society of Gynecologic Oncology & American Cancer Society, January – April, 2007.