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Shedding Light on Ovarian Cancer: An Interview with Calaneet Balas

By HERWriter
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Calaneet Balas

On top of spreading the news about these five facts, Balas and the OCNA also stress the importance of knowing the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

"There is this great misconception that a Pap smear detects for ovarian cancer and it doesn't," Balas said. "There is no early test, there is no mammogram, there's no Pap smear. That's why knowing the symptoms and the risks are really critical."

In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are also genetic risks if you have a history of ovarian or breast cancer in your family. A genetic test is available to determine changes in gene structure, determining your susceptibility to these cancers. Abnormalities associated with ovarian cancer may be found in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.

If you think you have symptoms associated with ovarian cancer, contact your doctor. While there is no screening exam for ovarian cancer, your doctors can prescribe various tests including pelvic ultrasounds, pelvic exams, and the CA-125 blood test to reach a diagnosis.

Balas said this disease is "a passionate one," and these women "experience all sorts of things. They could be facing infertility and no children, [in addition to facing] a very severe cancer. It's a life they really haven't planned."

But a sense of unity is evident, despite the hardships these women face. "The most impressive thing is how they bond together to help each other through the journey," Balas said.

The natural bond all women have with each other is a unique one. They hold a deep and sympathizing understanding of one another, confide in each other and empathize with one other and their personal struggles. By coming together, women have the power to make a great difference in the fight against ovarian cancer and be one voice for all women.

This World Ovarian Cancer Day, celebrate that unbreakable bond between women by using it to raise awareness for ovarian cancer. Continue the fight against the disease on social media by using the hashtag #unbreakablebond.

For more information on ovarian cancer, visit MyOCJourney.com.


Phone interview with Calaneet Balas CEO of OCNA on April 22, 2015.

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Retrieved April 22, 2015.

Ovarian Cancer Key Statistics. American Cancer Society. Retrieved April 22 2015. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-key-statistics

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Screening (PDQ®). National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Retrieved April 24 2015. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/screening/ovarian/HealthProfessional/page2

What are the risk factors for ovarian cancer? American Cancer Society. Retrieved April 22, 2015. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-risk-factors

Survival rates for ovarian cancer, by stage. American Cancer Society. Retrieved April 22, 2015. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovariancancer/detailedguide/ovarian-cancer-survival-rates

Reviewed April 23, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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