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Review for Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic cancer and a leading cause of cancer-related death in women. The survival rate has barely improved since the 'War on Cancer' was declared over 40 years ago. Due to the lack of an early detection test, over 80% of patients are diagnosed at a late stage. For these reasons, increased awareness and advocacy are critical.

I have a personal testimony to the above statement. I lost my maternal grandmother in 1971 to ovarian cancer. I lost my mom in 2011. It has now been over 45+ years that there has not been a diagnostic test to detect ovarian cancer in females. I say "females" instead of women, as most people believe that ovarian cancer is a post-menopausal women's disease. It is NOT! In 2011, Mariel Almendras died at the age of 8!! She was diagnosed in kindergarten!! Ovarian cancer does not age discriminate!!

My mom was a registered Nurse, as am I. We sought to make a difference in the State of Michigan by starting Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MIOCA). This was created to fill a void in our State for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer & their families. When my mom was diagnosed, there had been no support groups, awareness efforts, fundraising activities for ovarian cancer. As two health care professionals, we strived to change that.

Most cancers are fighting for a cure, we are fighting for a basic diagnostic tool to help diagnose females in early stages of their disease. As it is now, with no diagnostic exam, most women are not diagnosed until late stages.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016, about 22,280 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed and 14,240 women will die from the disease in the United States. A women's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from the disease is about 1 in 100.
Ovarian cancer survival rates are much lower than other cancers that affect women.

The relative five-year survival rate is 45 percent. Survival rates vary depending on the stage of diagnosis.
Women diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher five-year survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage.
Approximately 15% percent of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early.
About 80% of women who go into remission following initial treatment will experience a recurrence of the disease.
Women diagnosed with breast cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 75.3 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 89 percent.
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1975 experienced a five-year survival rate of 34.8 percent; today, the American Cancer Society estimates the rate to be 45 percent.

MIOCA has been the silver lining for me after losing both my mom and grandma. Many of the MIOCA board members are ovarian cancer survivors or caregivers (like myself) that are working to pay it forward. We have a few taglines "Until there is a test, awareness is best". We strive to get the symptoms out to the public so that all females "know their body, know the symptoms" as that is all we have to go on.

Please visit to find out more about what we do.

Role:  General Member of the Public