The Overview: May 2023

What to Know About the Chemotherapy Drug Shortage

As many are aware, the U.S. is currently experiencing a matter of great concern: an ongoing shortage of chemotherapy drugs that are essential in the treatment of ovarian cancer. The availability of these medications is of critical importance to patients and their families, and we understand the anxiety and uncertainty this shortage may cause.

This shortage of chemotherapy drugs, including cisplatin and carboplatin, has reached a serious level,  impacting the treatment options available to some patients. We want to assure you that OCRA is working diligently to advocate for patients and collaborate with key stakeholders, including elected representatives. Still, experts tell us to expect the shortage to last several months.

If you are currently undergoing treatment or if you have been recently diagnosed and have questions or concerns, the first and most important step is to contact your healthcare provider or oncologist. They are your best resource for guidance and can provide you with the most up-to-date information regarding whether you personally may be impacted by the drug shortage, and what alternative drugs or treatment options they recommend.

Analysis: Genetic Testing Underutilized in Ovarian Cancer Patients

A retrospective study of more than 5,500 ovarian cancer patients found that just over a third underwent germline genetic testing after receiving their diagnosis. Germline testing, which looks for inherited genetic mutations present in cells since birth, is a critical tool in identifying who may be at elevated risk for ovarian cancers, and, crucially, for optimizing treatment after diagnosis. Germline testing was underutilized in even greater numbers among patients who were of older age, Black, or on Medicare versus commercial insurance.

Call for Photos

It’s the season for graduations, reunions, weddings and backyard barbecues! If you’ve celebrated one of these special moments with loved ones recently, we invite you to submit your photos and stories. We may feature you in an upcoming social media post or communication!

Staying Connected: Summer Session Updates

Fill your warm summer days with opportunities for support and connection, with OCRA’s Staying Connected virtual support series. Sign up for a fun Book Club beach read, and Express Yourself with a hands-on project (like the gorgeous birdhouse created by Cindy, pictured, at last month’s session!) using materials we send to you. Plus, don’t miss two new additions: a weekly Summer Series focused on specific cancer diagnoses (June is endometrial and uterine cancer), and monthly Summer Roundtables, starting with June’s topic, “Communicating With Your Healthcare Team.” View our full calendar, and register today.

Honoring a Mother’s Legacy

Posed photo of Jennifer Underwood, wearing yellow dress, smiling and leaning into her mother, Diane Mahlstadt

In June, Jennifer Underwood hosts her second annual fundraising event in honor of her late mother, Diane Mahlstadt. Through Ovarian Cycle Massapequa: Diane’s Legacy Ride, Jennifer and her family have raised over $72,000 in support of our mission. “It really brings people together. We listen to music, we laugh, we sweat, we hug it out, and we raise a lot of money.” Thank you, Jennifer!

SGO Annual Meeting: OCRA Research Advocate Perspective

In case you missed it — the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer took place this spring, bringing together experts from around the globe. OCRA’s Research Advocate, Annie Ellis, attended the meeting, and shares a summary of important presentations from a patient perspective, including updates on platinum resistance, low-grade serous carcinomas, neuropathy and more.

College Students Rally for a Cure

We applaud the efforts of three collegiate groups of OCRA Heroes for going above and beyond in the fight against ovarian cancer. The SUNY Brockport Women’s Field Hockey Team, Beta Tau Chapter of Kappa Epsilon at University of South Florida Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Muhlenberg College student Brendan Lavarra, all got creative to raise crucial funds and support the community.

Don’t miss these updates

  • What can be gained in ovarian cancer research by studying other gynecologic cancers? We posed the question to OCRA’s Scientific Advisory Committee — here’s what they had to say.
  • May is National Cancer Research Month, and this year’s theme was “Bringing Cancer Research to Life,” a topic on which OCRA’s grantees have a unique perspective. Read what Dr. Melanie Weigert had to say … and be sure to follow us @ocrahope on social media to stay up to date!
  • OCRA’s research, patient support and advocacy programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of our community. Donate today to make a difference.

Posted on in Community, Events, OCRA News, Research