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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ovarian Cancer Awareness

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

If you're smart (and we know anyone who comes into this part of the neighborhood already is), you'll pay attention.

The life you save may be your own - or that of someone you dearly love.

Known as "the silent killer" the symptoms of ovarian cancer are so vague as to be easily dismissed. In fact, the majority of women, 77 percent, are diagnosed after the disease has reached an advanced stage. Despite advancements in surgery and chemotherapy treatments, the overall five-year survival rate for women with advanced stage ovarian cancer has remained constant over the past 30 years at approximately 15 percent.

Conversely, those women diagnosed with early stage (Stage I) disease have an overall five-year survival rate approaching 90-95 percent. Clearly, early-stage detection of ovarian cancer is the best way to improve survival.

Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation was co-founded by Gail McNeil, a member of St. Paul's, and Lois Meyers, both ovarian cancer survivors, to raise awareness about the risk factors and symptomatology of this disease.

Together, they have also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for research which has, in recent years, included the development of a CA125 blood test which has been very helpful in early detection.

However, the CA125 blood test is not like a pap test and nothing like a mammography that can be done on a routine, annual basis. There are no lumps or bump and no discoloration of the skin that can be detected.

When symptoms do manifest themselves, there's a small window of time when the disease progresses from Stage I, which is highly treatable, to Stage III which means that metastasis has already occurred and the disease has rapidly advanced.

You can get lots of information about risk factors and symptoms from the Kaleidoscope of Hope website, but to make it even easier for you, I am going to include the symptoms here.

Just promise me that you will visit the KOHNJ website and make a substantial contribution to their efforts. This is important, holy, life-giving-and-saving work.

Please help in whatever way you can, but most importantly, spread the word.


* Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort

* Vague, but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea and indigestion.

* Frequency and/or urgency of urination in absence of an infection.

* Unexplained changes in bowel habits.

* Unexplained weight gain or loss, particularly weight gain in the abdominal region.

* Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness.

* Pain during intercourse

* Ongoing fatigue

* Abnormal postmenopausal bleeding (this symptom is rare).

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