Originally published 5/19/13 Dedicated to my mom.
A bright spotlight shines on breast cancer. Pink saturates everything. Marathons are held to find a cure. Mammograms are encouraged to detect it.
Ovarian cancer lurks in the shadows hoping no one will notice it. And no one does. It’s free to go undetected and slowly kill thousands of women each year.
You can’t catch it. There is no test for it even though most women think a pap covers it.
No one knows that the signs mimic those of IBS. People usually jump to conclude it’s just digestive problems. Bloating, change in bowel habits, indigestion, nausea, abdominal fullness, fluid in the abdomen, or lump in the abdomen.
Most people don’t know that having breast cancer increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer. And vice versa.
Almost no one realizes that it’s the deadliest gynecological cancer there is.
Women are unaware that the CA125 blood test is the closest thing we have to a screening for ovarian cancer. And it’s not even reliable.
Little headway is being made. The five year survival rate for ovarian cancer has not changed significantly over the past 40 years. That means there are almost never survivors. Only loved ones you have to watch wither away over 1,2,3,4 or 5 years.
In 2008 the American Cancer Society awarded $572.6 million for breast cancer research. Ovarian cancer, $6.2 million.
I’m not trying to pit one disease against the other. Or to say one is more important. But damn. Where are our mammograms? Where are our pink ribbons? Where is our race for the cure? No one seems to notice this silent killer. And so it just goes on killing.