Many local women and several groups got together Wednesday to bring more attention to a type of cancer that can go undetected. For two of them Ovarian Cancer Day is very personal.
Ginger Denny of Fayetteville admits she wasn't really keeping track of her health when she developed lower abdominal pains.
“After two weeks I went into the doctor thinking I had a urinary tract infection, he said no you don't but then the blood tests came back and it indicated that perhaps an oncologist should do it.”
The procedure for pretty routine symptoms led to the diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer
“I was very fortunate, I was stage three, but he was able to do what they call Optimal-debulking where he could get all evidence of disease and I did not have additional organ involvement.”
Her treatment back in 2000 was successful and might have beaten the odds.
“I think at the time period, was maybe 30-percent five year survival, back when I was diagnosed. Where now the treatments are better; there’s more chemo-therapy. It’s treated more like a chronic disease. Women are living longer.”
And Denny is trying to help by spreading awareness and working as President of the support group Graces. Frieda Weeks lost her daughter to cancer...Heather had started a mission to raise awareness similar to breast cancer
“She wanted to make teal ribbon as recognized as the pink. A few months after starting her mission, she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer and lost her battle…so we picked up her battle because we knew that would be what she wanted.”
Weeks started Hope for Heather, pushing education and raising research funds. The group wants women to track their symptoms.
“We say if symptoms persist for more than two weeks, we say take this to your doctor and say prove I don’t have the cancer. If they don’t want to, find another one. We go to how many places to buy a car, why do we take only one opinion when it comes to our life.”
There is currently no test or screening for ovarian cancer...but both Weeks and Denny are hopeful awareness and more research can produce one... to cut down on what is the fifth-most deadly disease facing women.
Hope for Heather has three upcoming events: Rebecca's Ride, a motorcycle rally and fundraising event June 9th; Information booths at the NY State Fair; Teal Ribbon Run a the Inner Harbor in Syracuse September 29th.