Every February in Australia is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month (OCAM). Ovarian cancer charities are involved in this month-long campaign with the aim to spread awareness and raise funds for ovarian cancer research and help.
Close to 1,500 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Australia every year. Unfortunately, most of the diagnoses are of ovarian cancer at an advanced stage, which is hard to treat. With more awareness about ovarian cancer and early symptoms to look out for, more women are encouraged to get tested to discover the cancer earlier on, which is easier to prevent.
Ovarian cancer is most common among women 50 years and older, although it can develop at any age.
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.
About Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month runs from 1 February to 28 February (or 29 February for leap years), every year. Charities and organisations use this month to spread awareness and collect donations, which go towards ovarian cancer research and support.
While normal community events may be delayed or cancelled due to COVID-19, there are still so many ways you can get involved. This year, you can get involved by making a one-off or monthly donation, educate yourself and others about ovarian cancer and/or host your own fundraiser (teal event).
By spreading awareness, it can encourage others to get checked earlier on when they know the symptoms. The sooner the cancer is found, the better the chances are of treating it.
Reducing the Risk of Ovarian Cancer
Early detection & knowing the signs.
Like most diseases, noticing symptoms earlier on means it is easier to deter or prevent ovarian cancer from progressing. By knowing the symptoms to look out for, getting checked periodically if you’re a woman over the age of 40 and have gone through menopause and understanding your family history, ovarian cancer can be better prevented, or tackled early on. Cancer Council states although early stages of ovarian cancer has little to no symptoms, there are still symptoms to look out for:
- Discomfort in the pelvic area or abdomen.
- Swelling or bloating in the abdomen.
- Appetite changes.
- Constipation, needing to urinate frequently or diarrhoea.
- Nausea and indigestion.
- Change in weight (that is has no foreseen cause).
- Pain or discomfort during sex.
- Change in period pattern or bleeding after menopause.
*These symptoms aren’t a direct link to cancer. However, it’s a good idea to look out for these symptoms and get checked by your doctor if you do experience any of these symptoms.
Did you know?
1. There’s no early detection test for ovarian cancer.
This means when there are symptoms and it’s been diagnosed as ovarian cancer, the disease is already in an advanced state. Less than 30% of women will live longer than 5 years after diagnosis.
This is why aside from understanding the symptoms to get checked, it’s even more important to understand the steps that can be taken to prevent ovarian cancer from developing.
Another important note is pap smears don’t detect ovarian cancer, although a study found more than 60% of women surveyed believed pap smears would.
2. Ovarian Cancer is the 8th most common cancer in Australia.
3. There is more than one type of Ovarian Cancer.
The most common type of ovarian cancer is epithelial tumours (90% of ovarian cancers). Next is germ cell tumours, followed by stromal cell ovarian cancer and then more rare types.
5 Ways You Can Support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
1. Wear teal
Teal is the international colour for ovarian cancer. By wearing teal during the month of February, you can help show your support for the cause and help spread awareness. Whether you’re going to work or walking your dog, wearing teal and encouraging others to wear teal helps the ovarian cancer awareness month campaign.
2. Host a teal event.
Hosting a teal event is a great way to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. You can register to host your own Teal Tea event with Ovarian Cancer Australia, and they’ll send you a host kit including decorations, a welcome letter, fundraising guide, a teal pen, ribbon and collection box, posters and a tea towel.
Where will the donations go?
Money raised from Teal Tea events will help:
- Provide women who have been newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer with resources they need (e.g. support guide and Resilience Kit).
- Give women diagnosed with ovarian cancer direct support from specialists.
- Support groups and online forums for women with ovarian cancer.
- Spread awareness for ovarian cancer.
- Advocate for ovarian cancer research funding.
If you’re unable to host an event yourself, you can also join the Teal Ribbon Parliamentary Breakfast. Schedule this virtual event in your calendar; it’s on Tuesday 16 February 2021 at 7:30AM.
One of the best ways to support the cause is to donate. This will help support women with ovarian cancer in addition to spread awareness and fund scientific research for the cause. There’s multiple charities to choose from, such as:
4. Donate in other ways.
Monetary donations are the best way to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, but there are other non-monetary ways to donate.
Donating goods is a great way to support the cause. Clothes, furniture, books etc. are all great items you can donate to cancer charities or charity shops.
Cancer patients need extra blood, which is another way you can donate to help those who desperately need it. Donating blood to those suffering from ovarian and other cancers can help them in a time that is already extremely stressful.
Donating your hair is another way to support ovarian cancer Awareness Month. People suffering from ovarian and other cancers may experience hair loss. Besides the effect of cancer on patients, hair loss makes it even harder. By taking the chop and donating your hair to be made into a wig, you can help those who are going through arguably the hardest time of their life.
Donate your time.
Donating your time can help ovarian cancer charities, foundations and patients. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and can help cancer charities with fundraisers, administration work and patients. This means it makes it easier for money to go directly to support and research for ovarian cancer.
5. Spread awareness.
Spreading awareness may seem obvious, but it is very helpful to the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month campaign. You can post photos of yourself or your group wearing teal on social media, and use the hashtag #OCAM2021 and tag @ovariancanceroz to show your support and spread awareness online.
Furthermore, you can share donation links online, change your profile picture to ovarian cancer awareness images and post facts about the disease. By participating in advocating this important cause, you can help OCAM in 2021.
Localsearch Supports Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Localsearch supports Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, with the aim to spread awareness and raise donations for the cause. The digital marketing service will be hosting staff events to raise funds for the cause and share facts and important information with staff to spread awareness about ovarian cancer.
The Cancer Council provides a free hotline you can reach on 13 11 20, in addition to speaking with your GP. If you are looking for a GP in your area, you can find them easily on localsearch.com.au.
Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and does not replace professional medical guidance or advice. Localsearch, nor the author, are responsible for any misuse of the contents of this article.