In recognizing the importance of raising awareness about ovarian cancer, President Obama issued a proclamation Tuesday, August 31, designating September National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) initiated the process in a letter sent to President Obama (whose mother died of ovarian cancer), joining in an effort to remind women that ovarian cancer remains the deadliest of gynecologic cancers and that early detection is the best chance of surviving the disease.
“During National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the year, I commend all the brave women fighting this disease, their families and friends, and the health care providers, researchers, and advocates working to reduce this disease’s impact on our Nation,” the Proclamation asserts. “Together, we can improve the lives of all those affected and create a healthier future for all citizens. Now, therefore, I, Barrack Obama, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2010 as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.”
Nationally, hundreds of grass-roots efforts are underway to encourage people to wear teal on Friday, September 3, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with this cause. Since fewer than 20% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the early stages, when survival rates are highest, 15,000 women will die each year from this disease. Unfortunately, since many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer often mimic other, less life threatening diseases, an early diagnosis may be overlooked. By helping women to recognize the symptoms, and monitor their persistency, women can become stronger advocates for their own health. Symptoms include: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency.
The CEOs of the three major 0varian cancer groups working with the White House on the President’s proclamation noted that in the more than 30 years since the War on Cancer was declared, ovarian cancer mortality rates have not significantly improved. The President’s proclamation underscores this important effort to help educate women and their physicians, and is a major step in helping us draw national attention to ovarian cancer and our commitment to defeating this disease.
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