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There Is Still Much To Do

Recently, a student at a local high school reached out to Teal Diva in hopes of working together for her Senior Project. The topic she chose explored Rare Cancer Research and Awareness. After reaching out, we spent time piecing together ideas that would embody her project topic. She volunteered at a few ovarian {k}ancer community events which allowed her to meet survivors of various gynecologic {k}ancers and family members impacted. But we were still trying to tie it all together. In one of our conversations, Sarah told me it was a goal of hers to become a writer. And well, with that in mind, I thought the blog would be an excellent fit. She was given three assignments for the blog. The following post is the second assignment where she was asked to educate herself on the symptoms of ovarian {k}ancer as well as the current statistics associated with the disease. Divas and gents, once again, here is Sarah for Part Two of her Senior Project!

Most cancers have a color for awareness. That color for ovarian cancer is teal.

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are bloating, abdominal pain, feeling full quickly while eating, urinary urgency or frequency problems, fatigue, back pain, an upset stomach, and pain during sex. If someone experiences these symptoms persistently and more frequently than normal, they should see a gynecologist.

As far as screening tests go, a lot of research has been conducted, but with little success so far. Currently there are 2 common tests. Transvaginal ultrasounds (TVUS) and CA-125 blood tests. TVUS can find a mass in an ovary but can’t tell if it is/isn’t benign. CA-125 is a blood protein. Women with ovarian cancer have high levels. If treatment is working, levels usually drop. CA-125 is ineffective as a screening test because common conditions can also cause high levels of CA-125.

In 2016, The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer. About 14,240 women will die from ovarian cancer in 2016. Ovarian cancer is 5th in cancer deaths among women. There is 1 in 75 risk of getting ovarian cancer in one’s lifetime. There is a 1 in 100 chance of dying. The 5-year relative survival rate is 45% according the American Cancer Society. If the cancer is found and treated before it spreads outside of the ovary (only 15% of ovarian cancers are found this early), the 5-year relative survival rate is 92%.

From my research I discovered that there is a lot of work to be done. More research needs to be applied to screening tests so that ovarian cancer is discovered and treated at earlier stages. As the 5th cancer for deaths among women, there needs to be more awareness about it.

With what I learned during this process, I am equipped and eager to spread awareness, support incredible organizations like Teal Diva, and support ovarian cancer research efforts.

#OvarianCancerStatistics #OvarianCancerAwareness #SeniorProject

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