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Over 15 years ago, when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there was no way that I could envision where this journey would take me. I had never known another woman with ovarian cancer, but was aware of the grim statistics associated with this most deadly gynecologic malignancy. After completing treatment in October 2000, I was in remission and as time passed with no recurrences I felt the responsibility of giving back to others. After years volunteering with SHARE on the helpline and as a support group facilitator and as a presenter in OCNA's Survivors Teaching Students program, I became a consumer advocate on the Department of Defense OCRP Integration Panel (IP). In 2014 I was also a co-author on the paper "A Qualitative Study of Ovarian Cancer Survivors' Perceptions of Endpoints and Goals of Care," published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.
For the past five years, I have proudly served alongside physician scientists, researchers in ovarian cancer, and other advocates as we select proposals to be funded with the hope, and belief, that those we choose will ultimately lead to the eradication of ovarian cancer. Over these years, progress has been made in studying tumor biology, etiology and heterogeneity, diagnostic methods, and treatment. Award mechanisms such as the Teal Innovator and the Ovarian Cancer Academy have allowed both highly regarded experienced scientists and new investigators the means to dedicate their research to ovarian cancer.
As an advocate for our community, I try to speak for my many friends who have died from this disease as well as for other women struggling today. We consumers partner with scientists on the IP who are truly dedicated to this cause. We "put a face" on ovarian cancer and bring urgency to the search for innovative studies that will have an impact on the lives of patients with ovarian cancer. The journey is ongoing; we cannot forget that too many women are dying.
Last updated Wednesday, January 27, 2016