I’m taking a day off from being a breast cancer survivor.
No, really, it’s true. I am using my soapbox for another crucial cause. It’s all about this.
OK I was half-lying. I am talking about cancer in general. Believe me, I would really like to stop talking about cancer. But it’s insidious, and it is everywhere. Yesterday was a celebration of Aretha Franklin, who recently died of pancreatic cancer. And this morning, I watched in tears as John McCain was mourned after his final stand with brain cancer. I’m so tired of these stories. But it is a good reminder that ALL cancers matter, and we need more, more, more research into what makes cancer cells tick, and how we can effectively eradicate them.
This brings me to my main point for today, which is this. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Unfortunately, Teal September does not get the attention that Pink October does, which is heart-breaking. Because this disease should be called the “ninja cancer”. There are no effective screening measures. The symptoms are all common complaints that could point to a whole host of ailments. And by the time that it is diagnosed, the disease is often advanced and requires aggressive treatment.
The American Cancer Society estimates the following for 2018:
- About 22,240 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer.
- About 14,070 women will die from ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108. (These statistics don’t count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.) Source: Cancer.org
Most women know to look for with breast cancer – a lump is a lump is a lump, right? But do you have any idea what the signs of ovarian cancer are? Well, you have come to the right place, because I’m going to tell you! Here is a handy chart to guide you:
I have a teal warrior in my family. You likely do too. Be aware of your familial risk, and do not discount symptoms. And donate heavily to organizations that focus on research, not just awareness. I just made you aware, so that job is done.
It is time for action, for ALL types of cancer. Cancer does not discriminate, and neither should we. It’s time to break out the rainbow ribbons. Fight for cures for ALL cancers. Set those damn ribbons on fire. Do whatever it takes to identify cures and more effective treatments. The time is NOW. I don’t like funerals. I want everyone to die of very old age in their sleep after long, fulfilling lives. We all deserve that chance.
Don’t you think?
We will now return to our regularly scheduled breast cancer complaints. Sorry, it’s my reality now.
For more information on coping with cancer, see our website www.driventosurvive.org