Friday, September 11, 2009

September is month for many things

This POST is a copy of a post from my other blog...please excuse it's jumbled appearance...it runs on and on...For my mom , for Lois and Barb...here are my thoughts and feelings today....

It is 9-11, a date that now holds so much significance in this country and around the world. Who would have thought at our emergency number [911] would always remind us of the loss and terror this day brought 8 years ago. My heart, mind and soul still ache from the memories and scenes of that day. Personally, I did not lose anyone, but there were people connected that touched me and who I remember in my prayers. My mom was still here then, and I was in charge of getting her to the doctor for her heart issues. We were very late...I couldn't see through my tears as I drove, she didn't remember the way. We walked in to the office and the 'receptonist/nurse' said we missed it. Long story short...the Docs and assistants were nearby and did see mom, once they understood how NYC/DC/PA were affecting the days work for everyone. Bless them...Mom lived to see New Years, and then poof...she was gone. 9-11 was to her another Pearl Harbor...very frightening and I will always think of her on this day.

September is also Ovarian Cancer awareness month. A friend of mine has a very good friend who is battling this disease. I am proud to call both of them friends. We are also sewistas [ a sewing fanatic] . I am putting my friends speech here to share awareness with all. It may only touch a few...but that is a few more that will now know. Gilda Radnor's disease is atrocious. I hope someday we see the cure but foremost, the early diagnosis tools. Lois...this is for Barb!!

How many of you here have a friend or family member who has been touched by cancer. If there was just something – anything you could do to help would you???? And if that was as simple as talking would there be any way to stop you?A very Dear friend of mine is fighting Ovarian cancer, she is going through her third round of treatment in less than 3 years. It is a scary time for her and for me -- almost 70 percent of women with ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage, making it the most deadly of all cancers of the female reproductive system.

As a result of Barb’s cancer, I have been introduced to more information about Ovarian Cancer than I ever really wanted to know. But what I’ve found out is that so many of us really don’t know anything about Ovarian cancer and THAT is part of the problem. We all need to know so much more in order to help more women be saved and not to suffer.

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition has a program called “BREAK THE SILENCE”, created to provide education, increase awareness and encourage public dialogue about the symptoms and risks of ovarian cancer among woman and their physician.Arming woman (and their families) with the tools they need to begin to know more about Ovarian Cancer is the ultimate goal.

Tonight I’m here to empower you to start that communication among the people you know to help Break the Silence.In 2006 the Coalition sponsored a survey to accurately measure the “lack of awareness” and knowledge among women about O C in order to develop an educational campaign that addresses the disease disparities.
The results of the survey are staggering.
Only 15% of women are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
82% of women have never talked to their doctor about the symptoms and risk factors of ovarian cancer.
54% of women who haven’t spoken to their doctor about ovarian cancer don’t think it’s an issue since their doctor never initiated the discussion.
40% of women stated they are not sure about the risk factors of ovarian cancer.

Another misconception was -- and I think this one is among the most frightening --
67% of women incorrectly believe that a yearly Pap test is effective in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer.IT IS NOT!
But enough about what we don’t know and don’t do. I’m here to change that.

Historically, Ovarian Cancer was called the silent killer because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of cure was so poor. More recently however this has been found to be false. There are symptoms that are more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than those who do not have it.
These symptoms include:
· Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
· Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, and indigestion
· Frequency and/or urgency of urination in the absence of an infection
· Unexplained weight gain or weight loss· Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling, bloating and/or feeling of fullness
· Ongoing unusual fatigue
· Unexplained changes in bowel habits

Women with ovarian cancer report that the symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. The frequency and/or number of such symptoms are key factors in the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Several studies show that even early stage ovarian cancer can produce these symptoms. When the symptoms are persistent, when they do not resolve with normal interventions (like diet change, exercise, laxatives, rest) it is imperative for a woman to see her doctor. If symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, you really need to consult your physician.

Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only around 19% of ovarian cancer is found in the early stages.

In my conversation with the Co-President of the Northern New Jersey Chapter of NOCC, Lynn Franklin, she said one of the other problems is that some of these symptoms are considered vague by Doctors and can also be indicative of gastrointestinal difficulties. If a woman is treated for these symptoms as gastrointestinal problems and they are not resolved, Lynn stressed the importance of seeking out another Doctor, don’t assume that you are just having a tough time with a stomach problem.

As with other cancers, EARLY DETECTION INCREASES THE SURVIVAL RATE. “Don’t worry about offending your Doctor.” Lynn said that was a reason that some patients waited so long to obtain treatment, they didn’t want to offend their Dr!!!. Don’t WAIT!! You are too important to you, to your family and to your friends to take a chance that it will go away.It is important to know that there are some identifying risk factors, and while the presence of one or more of these may increase a woman’s chance of getting Ovarian Cancer it doesn’t mean that she WILL get the disease.

· Genetic Predisposition· Personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer
· Increasing age
· Undesired infertility
It is important to note that ALL WOMEN ARE AT RISK.

If I showed you a yellow ribbon, or a red dress, or a pink ribbon, you would know exactly what message I was giving you, but if I showed you a teal ribbon, or wore a “break the silence” bracelet, would you have a clue what cause I was supporting? Probably not!

Teal is the color of Ovarian Cancer Awareness. There, you’ve already learned something you can easily share with others that is an easy way to open a conversation. It is not hard to start a conversation.Now, here is what you can do to help BREAK the SILENCEEveryone here tonight can help make a real difference in the future of women. Talk about what I’ve told you tonight, talk to your family, your friends, but don’t let our silence allow one more person to not know about Ovarian cancer. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. Please take time to help Break the Silence.

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