The Overview: April 2021
Flowers are blooming all around us, people are beginning to rediscover the things that matter most, and every day, OCRA grantees are making strides in understanding even more about ovarian cancer. Happy (almost!) May!
- Fertility preservation is an important consideration for many young ovarian cancer patients and one common procedure is egg freezing. We provide answers to common questions and suggest considerations to take into account while making those decisions.
- Of the 22,000 people who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, most will be diagnosed with a form of epithelial ovarian cancer; and among these, most will be high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Yet there are several different types and subtypes of the disease, and researchers are making promising advances in better understanding and treating those. Learn more about rare ovarian cancers here.
- OCRA grantees Dr. Rugang Zhang and Dr. Shuai Wu, both of The Wistar Institute, along with colleagues, have discovered a vulnerability in cancer cells that harbor certain genetic mutations. Their findings, which involve the ARID1A gene, point to potential new pathways of treatment for patients living with ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCCC). Learn more about their research and this particular mutation.
- Researchers at the University of Utah and Huntsman Cancer Institute found that an ovarian cancer diagnosis took a much higher mental toll on patients and survivors than initially expected at the start of the study, thus underscoring the critical need for programs that provide psychological and emotional support for people living with this disease. Learn more about the findings, and about how OCRA’s Woman to Woman peer support program can help.
- Remember the Action Alert we put out last month encouraging everyone to ask their state representatives to sign onto a “Dear Colleague” letter asking for increased funding to the OCRP (Ovarian Cancer Research Program)? We’re happy to report that 125 legislators signed on thanks to the urging of nearly 2,000 people in our community. We will be monitoring this action closely and will share new information as it comes in.
- In his discretionary funding request for 2022, President Biden announced the creation of an agency that would take on high-risk, high-reward research seeking to advance medical technologies. This agency is modeled after one that produced breakthroughs such as the Internet and GPS. The agency, known as Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health (ARPA-H) came with a proposed budget of $6.5 billion, quite a significant investment. OCRA joined other patient advocacy organizations in signing a letter to the President and is hopeful that this will be a very promising development for the ovarian cancer community.
PATIENT SUPPORT & PROGRAMS
- Janice Murphy is a Survivors Teaching Students volunteer, Woman to Woman mentor-in-training, and national radio host who wants to share the Great American Songbook and spread the word about what she sees as a silent epidemic among older gay women.
- Research on mental health in ovarian cancer patients confirms what we already know, which is why we are committed to our Woman to Woman peer mentor program. Woman to Woman offers 1:1 connections between trained ovarian and gynecologic cancer survivors and those who are newly diagnosed, facing a recurrence, or looking for someone who truly understands. With 32 active sites across the country and a large national network of dedicated mentors who can offer support remotely, no one should feel alone.
- Save the date!! Our Ovarian Cancer National Conference will take place – virtually – September 28th – October 1st. We’re building on the success of last year and adding even more features. Stay tuned for more information. We can’t wait to ‘gather’ again!
- We have several fitness fundraising events taking place in the coming weeks. There’s a virtual Zumba event on Saturday, May 8th celebrating World Ovarian Cancer Day; and three Ovarian Cycle events will be held on Saturday, June 12th in Temple, TX; Massapequa, NY; and Clayton, MO. Not only will they have stationary bike rides, but some events offer rowing, Pilates and yoga as well. And on July 10th, supporters in Fayetteville, GA can participate in a 5k Color Run. Check out our Events page to learn more about each event and to register.
WAYS TO GIVE
- Mother’s Day is around the corner (10 days, but who’s counting?) On a day full of meaning — for some, gratitude, and for many, remembrance — we invite you to make a gift that will mean the world to those whose lives have been profoundly changed by ovarian cancer. Donate today to honor those who add light to our lives, remember those lost — and be a ray of hope to those for whom a cure would mean so much.