Today marks a turning point in our fight against ovarian cancer. As covered in The New York Times, we are launching an important campaign centered around two messages with proven outcomes: knowing one’s risk, and taking preventative action.
You know better than anyone the challenges we face in the fight against ovarian cancer. There’s no early detection test, and important research has shown that in most cases detecting ovarian cancer even 18-24 months earlier, well before symptoms begin, does not improve mortality. While devastating news for our community, which for so long focused on symptom awareness, it’s essential that we not ignore these findings. We must focus our energy on what we know really does work, and effect real change by acting on what we know CAN save lives. And experts agree: the Society of Gynecologic Oncology has endorsed this messaging.
We know that people with a family history of ovarian, breast, colorectal and/or uterine cancers are at higher risk and that 20% of ovarian cancer patients have a genetic mutation. Identifying these at-risk individuals would allow them to consider prophylactic surgeries to prevent the disease before it starts.
But what about the other 80% of people diagnosed with ovarian cancer — those with no known risk factors or mutations? At least 70% of the most common and lethal ovarian cancers originate in the fallopian tubes. Research has shown that having the fallopian tubes removed when having another surgery such as a hysterectomy or tubal ligation, and leaving the ovaries intact, can be a primary prevention strategy for ovarian cancer.
So a second chance to effect real change is to promote consideration of this surgery (opportunistic salpingectomy) at the time of another pelvic surgery in average-risk women.
While focusing on this new messaging, we will continue funding research to develop much earlier diagnostics, better treatments, and a deeper understanding of the disease.
There IS hope on the horizon; more than ever before. And now we have tools that can reduce the number of women ever diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Learn more about this campaign and join us as we continue this fight on behalf of everyone who has ever been touched by ovarian cancer.