September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Remember a few months ago when I skyped with Kelly Ripa? Yeah, that was pretty awesome, wasn’t it? I had the amazing opportunity to speak with Kelly about her involvement with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. Today, I want to bring that topic up again, in honor of the beginning of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and tell you about another way that we can all play a part in eradicating this awful disease.

Seventh Generation, makers of all-natural household, baby and feminine products, has decided to dedicate one day for women to start talking about gynecological health and, particularly, ovarian cancer. They’ve created “Let’s Talk… Period” Day and today, September 1, if you click here and register your email address, Seventh Generation will make a $1 donation to OCRF. The website has information on ovarian cancer signs, symptoms, risk factors and prevention. As a thank you for participating, Seventh Generation will give each registrant a coupon for their organic cotton tampons that are not bleached with chlorine, free of rayon and don’t contain added perfumes or dyes.

This is a hugely important cause, and not one we often hear about. But believe it or not, ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. It’s often called the “silent killer” because the symptoms are often vague and by the time it’s diagnosed, it’s often in an advanced stage. There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer, but there are tests that can detect it when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms. The most effective way women can protect themselves against ovarian cancer is to learn the signs and symptoms – the OCRF website is a wealth of information, and I encourage you all to go there and learn more, but here are the basics:

Signs & Symptoms
• Bloating
• Pelvic and/or abdominal pain
• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
• Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

Risk Factors
• Increasing age, with highest occurrence in women over 50
• Family or personal history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colon cancer
• Uninterrupted ovulation (having no pregnancies, infertility, low parity)
• Presence of gene mutations, especially BRCA 1 or BRCA 2

Prevention & Risk Reduction

• Use of oral contraceptives for more than five years can reduce your risk by approximately 50%
• Multiple pregnancies, having first full-term pregnancy before the age of 25
• Breastfeeding

As I mentioned in my previous post, this cause is particularly close to my heart, as I lost my mother to ovarian cancer. I am honored to help spread the word about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and I sincerely hope that you will all visit today as well as OCRF‘s website to learn more about this devastating disease.

Also, please take a minute to watch the video below and to hear the story of Melissa Weiss, an ovarian cancer survivor.

Moral of the story? Know your body. Listen to it. And if you know something is wrong, find a doctor who will listen. Advocate for yourself, and don’t stop until they give you real answers.

Thank you.

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9 Replies to “September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month”

  1. Your mother was a wonderful person. She was 2 years older than I and 2 grades ahead of me in school. She had a sweet spirit and was very kind. It is terrific that you are doing all you can for this cause. She’s smiling and is proud of you.


  2. I lost my mom 3 years ago to breast cancer – so young. Thanks for the great information….I now know that I have a risk factor for ovarian cancer too. Knowledge is so important.

  3. Thanks for bringing this up Emily! I have a family history of this disease too (Several of my grandmother’s sisters battled it. My grandmother and one of my aunts had their ovaries removed due to results from ovarian screenings that appeared to be pre-cancerous.) I hope that someday the ultrsound can be proven to provide early detection and the incorporated into a yearly exam for women’s pelvic health.

  4. My mother was just talking about your mother the other day, how kind a person she was. As a doctor this is a great way to get awareness out there. -cousin of your cousin

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