If you think you’ve been checked for Ovarian Cancer, think again. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the Silent Killer: there is no reliable screening test for this disease and no vaccine to prevent it. When asked if they have been screened for ovarian cancer, the majority of women will say – well, yes, that is what my annual physical is for. However, the regular PAP test screens for cervical, not ovarian, cancers. In fact, ovarian cancer is the most fatal women’s cancer in North America. One in two women diagnosed does not live to see another five years.
When treatment, management, and even cures for some cancers are quickly advancing, why is this not the case for ovarian cancer? Unlike breast cancer and cervical cancer, whose early detection has helped thousands prevent further advancement of the disease, ovarian cancer has no reliable early detection. The symptoms themselves are equally difficult to detect. When is the last time you felt bloated? Had mild abdominal discomfort or a slight change in your urinary habits? Maybe you weren’t as hungry at dinner time as normal? Maybe you were just tired, ate the wrong thing, or drank too much water. Or, also possible, maybe you have ovarian cancer. Think of that. No screening tests and the best symptoms detection could easily be confused with eating too big a lunch, that was maybe just a little too spicy.
It is when faced with this information, and realizing how many women could be served with knowing it, that I agreed to help out with the LoveHer fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer Canada, to help raise awareness of this Silent Killer. Most of us have been exposed to cancer in one way or another in our lives; we have likely seen a family member or friend face the disease, some have even experienced it themselves. There is nothing pleasant about it, nothing comfortable. So, when asked to do something completely out of my comfort zone, I thought about all the women around the world facing this disease and stood proudly with other like-minded women as we took to the stage to show our support. None of us were models, we were regular women; we were business owners, executives, musicians, artists, survivors. We put on our “costumes”, we listened to the music, and we walked the runway, because somewhere out there, there are others who can’t. This year’s event raised $225,000 in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada.
The closing message is this: get to know your body. It is up to each of us to be aware of the changes, and discover what is causing them. If you notice any new symptoms that persist for three weeks or longer, speak to your doctor – you are your own best advocate.
JSA Canada is a proud supporter of Ovarian Cancer Canada. Reach out to us today to ask how you can join our efforts in bringing this Silent Killer down.