Know Your Teal

Breast cancer awareness gets lots of attention, especially this time of year, but sadly, ovarian cancer is still a silent killer. The problem is that its symptoms mimic those of many other diseases, and by the time it’s diagnosed, it is all too often in the late stages already, when it is less treatable. And unlike breast cancer with the mammogram, no definitive screening tests exist for ovarian cancer.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, and just recently, on September 15 of this year, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a House Resolution sponsored by Rep. Wasserman Schultz to designate the last week of September as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week (HBOC) and the last Wednesday of the month as National Previvor Day. A previvor is one with an increased genetic  cancer risk, who does not yet have cancer themselves. I was a breast cancer previvor before I was a survivor, and am now an ovarian cancer previvor.

How well do you know your ovarian cancer facts? Take this quiz and find out:

  1. True or false: Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often nonspecific, persistent, and increase over time.
  2. True or false: Most cases of ovarian cancer are hereditary.
  3. True or false: A pap smear is a test for ovarian cancer.
  4. Name two symptoms of ovarian cancer.
  5. True or false: Being diagnosed with breast cancer increases your risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  6. True or false: The overall five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is about 45%. If caught early, this five-year survival rate increases to 94%.

Answers are here.


For more information about ovarian cancer, check out the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website. And for more information about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) is a wonderful Resource.

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