I follow a number of ovarian cancer organizations on Facebook and Twitter. The other day I read a tweet that referred to an article on a site called ESPN-W , an ESPN website for women who love sports. ( I love crew and college football.) What a great way to reach women and raise awareness of ovarian cancer. The title of the article was "Ovarian Cancer an Under the Radar Killer"by Melissa Isaacson. Thank you Melissa for taking the time to highlight ovarian cancer (OC) on this site.
Overall the article did a good job sharing the story of Roni Lemos, describing the symptoms of the disease, reporting the statistics and stressing that women should advocate for themselves when it comes to their health. There are two parts though I want to comment on.
There was a quote made by an NOCC representative- "It's a very sad, sad cancer ". Sure ovarian cancer is sad - for women diagnosed and those who care for them. It is sad for those in treatment and sad when women lose their lives because of ovarian cancer. But honestly, all cancers are sad. And I say that as someone who has dealt with OC and someone who also has had family and friends who were treated or lost their lives to cancer - breast, kidney, brain, liver, testicular, cervical, & prostate.
"It is also an unpopular disease as far as funding goes,... " Over the past 7 + years I don't think I ever heard ovarian cancer described as unpopular before. Is any cancer popular? I assume we can say that breast cancer is popular since in 2011 it received ~ $600 million more funding for research than ovarian cancer. And yes, we should increase OC research funding. I would have liked to have the author provide reasons why more research funding for ovarian cancer is crucial. Funds for OC research could help develop a screening test, gain a better understanding of the paths to developing the disease, to develop more personalized treatment plans, to use the Human Genome project data to develop new treatment options and to develop treatments for women who are battling recurrent disease.
There are reasons why breast cancer gets more research dollars. More women are affected each year by breast cancer than ovarian cancer. And national breast cancer organizations have been raising awareness of the disease and funds for research for a much longer period of time than there have been organizations raising funds for ovarian cancer research. The author did note that breast cancer research can translate to other cancers.
This article was a good place to start the conversation about ovarian cancer among women on this site. I hope the author will follow up with additional information like risk factors and BRCA mutations for her readers.
Every Day is a Blessing!