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Awareness Efforts Are Effective

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 third and final. Her assignment for this post was to research the cause and effects of awareness and funding with emphasis on a cause that receives a lot of attention and comparing with two other cancers. So, without further ado......divas and gents, meet Sarah for Part Three of her Senior Project!

According to a 2011 Marie Claire article, an estimated $6 billion is raised annually for breast cancer research and awareness. As a result of awareness efforts, billions associate pink with the month of October and breast cancer.

We all know it’s a big deal, but what is really being done to fight it? And what is being done to fight the lesser known, but just as important cancer types that take many of our loved ones each year?

Ovarian cancer ranks 5th in cancer deaths among women. We all know what ranks number one, and we support research for number one, but number five is just as important and deserves just as much attention. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year relative survival rate is 45% for ovarian cancer. If the cancer is found and treated before it spreads outside of the ovary, the 5-year relative survival rate is 92%. However, only 15% of ovarian cancers are found this early. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and May 8th is World Ovarian Cancer Day. Events are held and money is raised. However when a majority of us think of teal, ovarian cancer isn’t always the first thing to come to mind. At least, not for me. As a North Carolinian, I associated teal with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Through my research during this project, my association shifted to a much more important issue: ovarian cancer and the limited research and awareness. In 2016, approximately 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and about 14,240 women will die from ovarian cancer.

Adrenal Cortical Carcinoma is much less common. I chose to compare it to breast cancer and even ovarian cancer for that reason. Awareness efforts are practically non-existent. Events are rarely held, and never at a national level. ACC gets the lavender ribbon, and shares it with all cancers. One in one million people receive an ACC diagnosis each year. The 5-year survival rate is less than 10%. There is no cure and little research.

In closing, we all know that breast cancer receives a TON of awareness. Mammograms are offered for free in many places and are celebrated just like voting in the election. An extensive variety of treatment is available at all stages. Doctors are knowledgeable. The 5-year survival rate is 99% if the cancer is located only in the breast. Awareness efforts are effective. They work.

I think we should channel that money to new discoveries for lesser supported cancers such as ovarian and rare cancers like ACC. Those cancers need support, both financially and through awareness. Let’s stop spreading “awareness” for a cause we are all aware of, and move on to the neglected cancers that need our support and attention, as so many men and women of today and tomorrow are counting on us.

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