Anniversaries are important time for reflection. As I complete 10 years of my service as a consumer advocate on the Department of Defense (DoD) Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OCRP) Vision Setting Panel and celebrate the 15h anniversary of the founding of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, I have the opportunity to reflect on how the ovarian cancer research landscape has changed - for the better - since both programs started.
Because there has been no appreciable difference in the death rate of those being diagnosed with the disease, it is sometimes easy to succumb to the cliche of the "glass half empty" - if not plain empty.
However, while the cure for this disease has not been found, research funded by the DoD OCRP has brought the ovarian community much closer to an understanding of the underlying biology of the several tumor types we call ovarian cancer. Thanks to the DoD OCRP career development and Academy awards, a new group of scientists is dedicated to ovarian research. They are building upon previously funded research that has led to additional breakthroughs.
Of particular note over the last decade has been the increased partnership between the patient advocates and the research scientists in charting areas for future research. The efforts of the patient community to advocate for the funds for the DoD OCRP research program has resulted in my being able to view the glass as being more than half full.