The Ovarian Awareness Weekend has two missions:  one is to raise awareness about ovarian cancer, its symptoms and treatment; and the second is to raise funds to support research and clinical trials at the GYN Oncology Program at Duke.  It is the hope of the Ovarian Awareness Weekend Committee and the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center that, through this event, we can help to improve the overall survival and quality of life from ovarian cancer.

Facts about Gynecologic Cancers

  • An estimated 23,300 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2002.
  • Ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among woman in the United States.
  • An annual Pap smear may reduce the risk of dying from cervical cancer by 90 percent.
  • Abnormal bleeding, especially after menopause, is the most common symptom of uterine cancer. 
  • Ovarian cancer cannot be detected by a Pap smear.
  • Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages; however, when diagnosed and treated while the disease is localized, the 5-year survival rate is 90%.

Signs and Symptom

  • Vague but persistent gastrointestinal complaints
  • Pelvic and/or abdominal swelling
  • Unexplained change in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • New unexplained abnormal postmenopausal bleeding

Risk Factor

  • Increasing age, with highest occurrence in women over 50
  • Family history of cancer
  • Uninterrupted ovulation (infertility, having no pregnancies)

Sources: American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.


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