It is hard to believe that September 2014 is coming to an end. I was away for the first half of the month so I missed doing my usual awareness activities.
I did though still hang my teal ribbon flag and join Graceful Hope for their walk. And on Thursday, I went to the Lunch and Learn at the Cancer Support Community of Central New Jersey. Dr Tchabo, Atlantic Health, spoke about the latest research and treatments for ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and uterine cancer. Although I missed a few events, I experienced a lot of what September as ovarian cancer awareness month means to a survivor- learning about the disease, raising awareness, honoring fellow teal sisters and remembering the lives cut short by the disease.
This morning I was thinking to myself how things have changed in the past 9 years. It has been a gradual change but I think a change for the better. Teal ribbons on trees are no longer rare thanks to thousands of Turn the Towns Teal Foundation volunteers throughout the state and country. This year more news channels had segments focusing on ovarian cancer like this segment on channel 7 featuring my friend, Valisia LeKae.
More newspapers throughout the country shared stories about walks and focused on stories of survivors.
|Kaleidoscope of Hope Avon, NJ Walk- photo:J. Flaherty|
Buildings and bridges in places like Philadephia, Birmingham, Huntsville and around the US were bathed in teal lights.
|Boathouse Row Philadelphia, PA - photo Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation|
Even with this awareness the 5 year relative survival rate (SEER data) for ovarian cancer is 44.6% and for women with late stage disease the rate drops to 27%.
What can I do? What can you do? September may come to a close but I will not stop raising awareness of this disease. I hope you won't stop either. I will continue sharing information about symptoms. I will continue to stress that women, diagnosed with ovarian cancer, be treated by gynecologic oncologists. I will still tell women that every woman is a risk. And I will continue all year long to advocate for more funding for ovarian cancer.
In another 9 years I want to be able to write "The 5 year relative survival rate for ovarian cancer has risen dramatically from 44.6% to over 80% ".
Every Day is a Blessing!