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Ovarian cancer is deadly, difficult to detect.

DEAR ANNIE: September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month as proclaimed by the U.S. Senate and President Obama, whose mother battled the disease.

Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of all gynecologic cancers, affecting one in 72 women.

It is lethal and insidious -- hard to detect, difficult to treat and with no reliable screening test. A Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer. Women without ovaries can develop the disease. Seventy percent of women die within five years of being diagnosed. However, if detected in its early stages, there is a 92 percent chance of a full recovery.

Ovarian cancer does have symptoms. The NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Foundation utilizes the easy-to-remember BEAT acronym: Bloating, Eating less while feeling fuller, Abdominal and/or back pain, Trouble with your bladder and bowels.

Our foundation honors the memory of two sisters whose lives were cut short by the disease: Norma Yecies Shagrin and Leah Yecies Hantman. Norma, my mother, carried the BRCA gene mutation, which I inherited from her.

The BRCA mutation is responsible for up to 10 percent of all incidences of breast and ovarian cancer.

It is also closely linked to other cancers, including colon, uterine, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate and rectal cancer. Women with a close family member who has battled one of these cancers are at a higher risk, and we urge them to request the CA-125 and HE4 blood test, as well as a transvaginal ultrasound.

Our mission is to create public awareness, promote early detection and support research for ovarian cancer. Until reliable screening tests and better treatment methods are developed, women must be educated and empowered to be vigilant self-advocates for their own health.

I invite your readers to visit our website at www.normaleahfoundation.org to learn more about the disease and how they can win the battle against it. -- JODIE SHAGRIN KAVENSKY, FOUNDER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORMALEAH OVARIAN CANCER FOUNDATION, ROCK ISLAND, ILL.

DEAR JODIE SHAGRIN KAVENSKY: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to heighten awareness of this disease.

We hope the women in our reading audience, and the men who love them, will check out your website.

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Title Annotation:Living
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Sep 20, 2014
Words:354
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