What is Ovarian Cancer?
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The Ovaries are two small glands located on either side of the uterus which are responsible for producing female sex hormones, storing and releasing eggs (ovulation).
Ovarian cancer happens when abnormal cells grow in either one or both of the ovaries. Ovarian Cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States, and it is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women.
The American Cancer Society estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2018 are:
- About 21,290 new cases of ovarian cancer.
- About 14,180 deaths from ovarian cancer.
When DOC IT Foundation's founder, Martha Casado, was first diagnosed with stage four Ovarian Cancer back in 2005, these statistics became more than just numbers. It hit home as a sobering reminder of just how far we have yet to advance when it comes to detecting ovarian cancer in time.
Detect Ovarian Cancer In Time (DOC IT Foundation), is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in South Florida. Our primary mission is to help find a screening test and cure for ovarian cancer. All proceeds go to medical facilities dedicated to create proper screening test for ovarian cancer.
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This is our story.
DOC IT Foundation was founded by Martha Casado and Susie Casado in 2006 after Martha was diagnosed at the age of 49 with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Martha fought as hard as she could to hang on to life, she wanted to be there for her children and her family, unfortunately she passed away three years later. Ovarian Cancer for her came with resentment;
In order to detect Breast Cancer in time we know that we must perform self breast exams and we have the option to go to a clinic for a screening test. In the same way, Martha would visit her gynecologists routinely and even complained about a lingering issue which she was told was a persistent urinary tract infection.
After her diagnosis she was faced with the cold hard truth, that there is NO specific screening test for ovarian cancer. This is the main factor that makes ovarian cancer so deadly, and diagnosis so devastating. Martha was determined to help other women avoid what she had to go through by sounding the alarm and making a difference in the lives of women. She was adamant about pushing the idea of supporting promising ovarian cancer research to develop a specific screening test for ovarian cancer. Martha passed away on November 4, 2008, but her will to live and her passion inspired everyone that met her.
To honor Martha and the thousands of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, DOC IT Foundation, wants to help fund research dedicated to creating a specific screening test to Detect Ovarian Cancer in time - so that women at risk can have a chance to fight this deadly cancer. DOC IT wants to help women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and have low resources or no insurance to pay for the costs of chemotherapy.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100. (These statistics don’t count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.) This cancer mainly develops in older women but it has been known to occur in younger women as well. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years of age or older. It is also more common in white women (Jewish) than it is in African-American women.
As a rule, tumors in the ovary are named for the kinds of cells the tumor started from and whether the tumor is benign or cancerous.
The 3 main types of tumors:
Epithelial ovarian tumors are derived from the cells on the surface of the ovary. This is the most common form of ovarian cancer and occurs primarily in adults. Surface epithelial tumors account for ~60% of all ovarian neoplasms and 80-90% of malignant ovarian tumors.
Germ cell tumors are among the least common ovarian tumors, accounting for approximately 10-15% of ovarian tumors. They are derived from the oocytes (eggs). These tumors, like the surface epithelial tumors, can also be benign or malignant. There is, however, no intermediate group. The benign tumors are nearly always mature cystic teratomas or so-called "dermoids" and are successfully treated by the removal of the tumor with preservation of the uninvolved ovarian tissue. No further treatment is necessary. Malignant germ cell tumors require intensive multi agent after their removal. The treatment is completely different from the administered after surgical treatment of a surface epithelial tumor.
Sex cord stromal the least common type of ovarian tumor accounting for approximately 5-10% of ovarian tumors are those derived from the stromal component of the ovary (see diagram). Since hormone production (female sex hormones such as estradiol and progesterone and male hormones such as testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone [DHEA] and androstenedione) occurs in the stroma, tumors derived from this part of the ovary can be associated with abnormal production of sex steroid hormones. This can lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding in reproductive age and postmenopausal women and precocious puberty in children. Ovarian tumors that produce male sex hormones can cause hirsutism (increased growth of hair on various parts of the body) and in extreme cases, virilization characterized by an increase in body hair, deepening of the voice, balding, increase in muscle mass, and enlargement of the clitoris. (Source: John Hopkins ovariancancer.jhmi.edu/typesca.cfm)
Having one or more risks for endomorphism or ovarian cancer does not mean you will definitely get the disease. It means that you may be more likely to get endomorphism or ovarian cancer. Early detection is crucial!
If detected at its earliest stage, the five-year survival rate is more than 93%! The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often subtle and easily confused with other ailments.
Symptoms may include:
• Pelvic or Abdominal pain
• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
• Urinary urgency or frequency
Other symptoms may include:
• Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea
• Extreme fatigue
• Shortness of breath
• Weight Gain
There is no adequate screening test of ovarian cancer at this time which is one of the reasons that this cancer is often discovered in later stages. Talk to your doctor if symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks. You are your best advocate!
There is GREAT news about early detection!
The great news is that 95% of women diagnosed with early stage ovarian cancer (Stage I) will survive at least five years, and most of them will be cured.
Because early detection is crucial, DOC IT wants to help fund the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center program “Moon Shoots”. MD Anderson Center has chosen to target their ovarian cancer research program among the initial eight to focus on for Moon Shoots. The hospital was ranked the No. 1 hospital for cancer care by US News & World Report’s Best Hospitals survey for nine of the past 11 years, including 2012.
We hope their breakthrough research will, someday soon, develop a blood screening test for ovarian cancer. To learn more you can visit: http://www.cancermoonshots.org
DOC IT also wants to fund FIU (Florida International University) Nanotechnology research. Their initial research was successful in specifically targeting ovarian cancer.
You can read more here about this project here:
Our butterfly represents Hope
....for ALL the women currently diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.
THANK YOU for your Support!
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