run for her has always embraced the word “hope.” Hope for a test, hope for a cure, and hope that our worldwide circle of friends affected by the ovarian cancer have the courage and strength to get through their individual journeys.
On a personal note, this week has been an emotional roller coaster—I learned that one run for her friend has defeated all odds and is cancer free, while another close to our hearts has had a recurrence. For her, the journey begins again.
This all reminds me of the importance of research—and how far we’ve come. Last week brought the news of a breakthrough by Beth Y. Karlan, MD, and her team at the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Program (WCP) at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
Dr. Karlan and WCP researchers were part of a large national study on women’s cancers published in the journal Nature. Scientists believe their findings validate the idea that cancers are better defined by their genetic fingerprint than by the organ where they originate. This could mean that certain cancers with similar gene mutations—like some endometrial, ovarian, and breast cancers–might respond to the same treatments.
“Many developments in medicine are about treatments or tests that are only useful for a certain period of time,” said one researcher. “But this is something that will be useful 200 years from now. This is a landmark that will stand the test of time.”
You can read more on the research at nytimes.com.
I hope you will join me in congratulating Dr. Karlan and all the men and women at the WCP on their good work—and for giving us all hope for better detection and cure.
And thank you for supporting run for her—you’ve made this all possible.
All the best,
run for her Founder
To learn more about how you can support the important research underway at WCP, please visit www.runforher.com.
As we journey toward the 9th annual run for her on November 10, 2013, I find myself more encouraged and hopeful than ever before—and I will share why in a moment.
When I started run for her 9 years ago, I had no idea if it would be a success. I just knew that ovarian cancer needed a voice. Ovarian cancer needed funding. Ovarian cancer needed a test. And ovarian cancer needed a cure.
What brings me great hope is an exciting announcement from our beneficiary, the Cedars-Sinai Women’s Cancer Program (WCP) at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.
WCP has launched a program called the research for her registry, which is now actively recruiting female volunteers (ages 18 and over) with and without a history of cancer. Participants in this registry will help make a difference in the fight against women’s cancers in a non-invasive, very simple way. All they have to do in answer a secure questionnaire and their information will be entered into the research database.
I think all of us want to help but don’t always know how. The registry is an easy and effective way to help save lives.
What makes this even more exciting is that you can join the registry online. I just signed up, and it took less than 10 minutes from start to finish!
I hope that all the women over 18 years old reading this will register and all the men reading will encourage the ladies in their life to sign up, too.
For more details on research for her and to sign up, click here: www.cedars-sinai.edu/researchforher. You can also read the original announcement to the run for her community.
Thank you for continuing to support our event and the work of the WCP!
run for her Founder
What an incredible day! From every perspective, the 8th Annual run for her® was undoubtedly our best yet. Thanks to you, Cedars-Sinai’s run for her® remains one of the nation’s pre-eminent ovarian cancer awareness events.
I am grateful to everyone who helped us reach out to thousands of women all over the world with important information about ovarian cancer. The money you raised will maintain support for our scientists and physicians as they search for keys that can help us find better screening, more effective treatments, and someday a test that will detect ovarian cancer.
My heartfelt thanks go out to all of our walkers and runners, all those who donated, our worldwide network of Sleepwalkers, and the hundreds of volunteers who supported the event in Pan Pacific Park. I also want to acknowledge the incredible efforts of our run for her® Committee, the Young Guns and the Sargent Family, as well as our outstanding Community Relations team under the direction of Laura Fuhrman.
Every stride we take toward these goals we take together with you.
Finally, I want to acknowledge our sponsors – including DFS Galleria, Pacific Sales and LG, G2 Graphics and 7-Eleven, and the many other companies whose support allows us to produce the event. You are all an important part of our run for her® family.
The energy in the Park this year was magical. I hope that you will keep the spirit of run for her® alive in the weeks and months to come.
From the entire Women’s Cancer Program family, best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
Beth Y. Karlan, MD
Just one of the amazing women taking part in the 8th Annual run for her ® is ovarian cancer survivor and Team Doreen co-captain, Doreen Braverman. Here is her story:
Doreen Braverman was pale and gaunt.
She could barely walk, much less run.
And she was facing rounds three and four of chemotherapy.
How she got out of bed to participate in her first run for her® 5k Run & Friendship Walk, a charity fundraiser hosted by Cedars-Sinai to generate funding for ovarian cancer research and awareness, is a mystery – yet it’s not.
“I remember sitting on the median on Third Street and waiting for my team members to finish. A friend from the Writers Guild, at the time, was one of the first to finish. After crossing the finish line, he came and sat on the curb alongside me,” Braverman said of the experience four years ago.
“Seeing all the Team Doreen signs, family, friends and former colleagues was an emotional boost that was tremendously meaningful at a time when my physical and emotional resources were very low.”
“She complained of abdominal pain and had other symptoms for a year prior to her diagnosis,” she said. “Her disease was quite advanced. She did manage to graduate high school and complete one year of college. … This was someone who went to nursery school with one of my daughters.”Team Doreen was started by her husband and two daughters in 2008, the year Braverman’s ovarian cancer was discovered. However, her relationship with the disease, like many, began with the tragic death of a loved one. A 20-year-old family friend, Robin Babbini, lost a battle with the disease. Babbini was diagnosed at age 17 with stage-three ovarian cancer, Braverman said.
Babbini’s mother, Paulinda, founded the Ovarian Cancer Circle to educate women about the symptoms of the disease. During a Lunch and Learn event co-chaired by Paulinda in spring 2008, Braverman remembers picking up a bookmark with Babbini’s picture on it, as well as a list of ovarian cancer symptoms. One of those symptoms – bloating – stuck with Braverman.
In August, while out of town, Braverman experienced bloating around her abdomen. Instead of thinking it might have been gas, Braverman thought, “Oh my gosh, I have ovarian cancer.”
When she returned, she scheduled an appointment with her gynecologist. On Friday, Aug. 15, the doctor conducted a transvaginal ultrasound.
“All he could visualize was fluid, a sign cancer cells were multiplying,” she said.
Braverman was referred that afternoon to Andrew Li, a gynecologic oncologist at Cedars-Sinai, and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. That following Monday, eight days after her diagnosis, she underwent debulking surgery to remove the cancer. Braverman spent a week in the hospital, and on the eighth day after her diagnosis, she began chemotherapy.
Braverman had no family history of ovarian cancer.
Skip ahead four years, and Braverman’s run for her story, albeit with cancer still looming, is much more defined. Braverman and her youngest daughter, Lizzie, are co-captains of Team Doreen.
The team has dozens of regular participants each year and has raised more than $22,000 for the cause. Team Doreen has been among the largest teams three times.
Although her daughters have tested negative for any genetic mutations linked to ovarian cancer, Braverman said, the recommendation is for them to take birth control for at least five years. As for herself, Braverman’s cancer is in remission, and she’s tested every three months for recurrence.
“I’m like a diabetic. At stages three and four, there’s no cure but it’s manageable,” she said.
INCREASE YOUR AWARENESS
Doreen was fortunate–she knew what to look for. Learn the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and educate the women in your life.
This story was originally published in the October 31st edition of the Cedars-Sinai Employee Newsletter.
For many reasons Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Crisp cool days, football games, extra holidays, and of course, Cedars-Sinai’s annual run for her® 5K Run and Friendship Walk.
This year, our 8th run for her® event will be Sunday, November 11. I am always so inspired—and grateful to meet many thousands of people who come out and show their support for our efforts to make a difference in the lives of women fighting ovarian cancer. I see many faces at the race, and I am often asked very similar questions—do we have hope that someday there will be a test or some way to screen for ovarian cancer? Are there better treatments coming soon? How does the money we raise help fight cancer? What else can I do to help you, Dr. Karlan?
There is much to be hopeful about
Physicians and scientists are working together in unprecedented ways to identify new ways to fight ovarian cancer. Unfortunately there is still no effective screening test that can detect ovarian cancer in otherwise healthy women. But we do know some important risk factors. Some women are at high risk based on their family history of cancer. At the Women’s Cancer Program we have protocols to monitor these women, and individualized recommendations to help catch cancer early when it is most curable. We have also built an unprecedented body of information about the genetics of ovarian cancer that we believe will soon help with us identify individual molecular targets to more successfully treat ovarian cancers. Finally, we are making great strides in public awareness, and teaching women to be their own best advocates for their health information and partner in making choices.
run for her® is one of the nation’s largest ovarian cancer events. Many wonderful people come together to help us raise important resources that allow us to continue providing comprehensive and compassionate cancer care and cutting edge research. No matter where you walk, in LA or in one of the many cities from New York to Hong Kong that are hosting Sleepwalker events, your efforts are helping us conduct another experiment, test a life saving treatment, or educate more women (and men) about ovarian cancer signs and symptoms.
So what more can you do to help?
- First, keep talking about ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is NOT a silent killer. Symptoms are present in the majority of cases, however they are often vague and easily confused with other common conditions that affect women face. Symptoms include early satiety or feeling full very quickly, feeling bloated, having abdominal or pelvic pain, and urinating more frequently. If any of these symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks see a qualified physician to find out why.
- Second, join us for this year’s race! It is hard to describe the energy and hope that are hallmarks of the day. No matter where you join us for the 8th annual run for her®, you’ll be part of an incredible experience and feel great about the difference you make.
- And finally, I’d like to challenge everyone to reach out and raise $100 by race day. Just $100 (or even more) can make a big difference in the work we do. Join me in this challenge and commit to raising $100 by November 11.
Over the next several weeks I’ll share more information about run for her® and the work we’re doing at Cedars-Sinai in the fight against ovarian cancer. I hope we hear from you as well, tell us your story by visiting the Personal Story tab on our website or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we will keep fighting for the women in all our lives!
Beth Y. Karlan, MD