The Ovarian Cancer Foundation was founded by individuals directly affected by the disease who wanted to raise awareness and provide support to those already affected by ovarian cancer. Their vision is to save lives and ensure that no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone. The foundation works to provide women with the disease with a strong voice and access to the best diagnosis, treatment and support.
We felt very privileged to be able to hand over some of our vibrant and colourful cushions for such a vibrant and growing organisation! Our cushions will be sold off to raise money during their charity silent auction.
Q1: February is an exciting month for the foundation as its your Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Which activities and events are happening in Melbourne this year? How can we get involved?
Everyone can get involved with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month by hosting or attending an Afternoon Teal, teal being the international colour for ovarian cancer. You can also buy a teal ribbon and wear it throughout the month, especially on the 24th, which is Teal Ribbon Day. You can purchase a teal ribbon at any Chemmart Pharmacy or via our website. If you would like to do more to help, please visit ovariancancer.net.au to donate.
Perhaps the most important thing Australians can do during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month is make sure they know the signs and symptoms of the disease as this is the best chance for enabling a timely diagnosis. Make sure you know the signs and symptoms, which most commonly include abdominal or pelvic pain, increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating, the need to urinate often or urgently, or feeling full after eating a small amount. If women are worried about symptoms, they can go into their local Chemmart Phamacy to pick up a Symptom Diary which they can then take to their GP.
Q2: There is often a misconception that you have an early detection program & that ovarian cancer can be detected through a pap smear.. could you tell us a little more about it?
Although some developments have been made in the UK, there is currently no early detection program or early detection test for ovarian cancer. Many people believe that ovarian cancer will be detected by a pap smear or that they are protected against it by the HPV vaccine. Unfortunately this is not the case. However there is evidence to show that women who have taken oral contraceptives have a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer. The best way to arm yourself and the people around you is by knowing the signs and symptoms.
Q3: The organisation was started 15 years ago, roughly how many women come to you to seek help and support each year?
OCA is the only organisation that provides direct support to women living from ovarian cancer as well as their family and loved ones. We do this by facilitating support groups, both in person and over the phone, offering resilience kits and providing information resources. Around 1,500 women are diagnosed in Australia each year and we work to ensure that each and every one of these women don't feel alone and have the support they need. We help hundreds of women experiencing ovarian cancer each year as well as their family members.