Thousands wear teal to raise awareness of ovarian cancer

Sept. 11, 2009
September marks the nationwide observance of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

September marks the nationwide observance of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, as designated by the President of the United States. The first Friday in September (September 4 this year) is National Teal Day and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance led the efforts of thousands of Americans wearing teal to increase awareness about the deadly disease. Teal is the ovarian cancer community's color and serves as a reminder that ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all the cancers of the reproductive system and a leading cause of cancer death among women.

In addition to wearing teal, the 47 Partner Member organizations of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance are hosting events across the country including health fairs, walk/runs and fundraisers. The Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation of New Jersey will "Turn the Town Teal" by blanketing their community with teal ribbons, balloons and flyers — an annual affair. The South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation is releasing hundreds of butterflies in memory or in honor of loved ones to benefit ovarian cancer research and awareness.

Annette Leal Mattern, ovarian cancer survivor and Co-founder of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Arizona, says "We reached our goal to inform one million women in Arizona about the symptoms of ovarian cancer this year by partnering with Major League Baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks. An early diagnosis is a woman's best chance of survival."

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance strengthened its voice for the ovarian cancer community through relationships with Cartier, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and TriStar Products, Inc. In addition, the cause has been bolstered by celebrity support from Danica Patrick, Dara Torres, Janet Jackson, Kathy Bates and Rachel Zoe, who have all been touched by the disease in some way.

"Talking about this disease at the national level is essential because diagnosing it is so difficult. September is our opportunity to significantly increase awareness across the United States and ultimately, help save women's lives," explains Judith Abrams, president of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

If the following symptoms occur almost daily for more than two weeks, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance advises that women see a gynecologist. These symptoms include:

• Bloating

• Pelvic or abdominal pain

• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

• Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)

There is no definitive test for ovarian cancer so experts suggest a combination of pelvic/rectal exam, a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound.

Established in 1997, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocate for ovarian cancer in the United States. Until there is a cure for the disease, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance leads the national initiative to conquer ovarian cancer by uniting individuals and organizations at the local, state, and national levels to advance ovarian cancer research in the quest for early detection tests, improved health care practices, and development of live-saving treatment protocols.