For many reasons Fall is one of my favorite times ofyear. 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. Unfortunatelythere 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