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Race battles the ‘silent killer’

5K run/walk aims to raise ovarian cancer awareness and support research

Ovarian cancer is particularly devastating because it often goes undiagnosed until the late stages. Many walk the Teal Ribbon in memory of loved ones.

Ovarian cancer is particularly devastating because it often goes undiagnosed until the late stages. Many walk the Teal Ribbon in memory of loved ones.

— Over the years, participation has grown from a small group of people to around 1,100, according to Robbins. The group is hoping to surpass a total of $1 million raised from the event over the years, a goal that is in reach this year.

“There are many, many people who come back year after year and are committed to this cause,” Robbins said. The number of survivors and families that are involved in this has turned it from where there was a couple hundred to over a thousand.”

Robbins said many of the possible symptoms of ovarian cancer tend to get overlooked, which is exactly what happened to Davis.

“I blew it off for a while,” Davis said. “I had felt so lousy for a couple of years and couldn’t figure out why so my initial response (to being diagnosed) was, ‘Wow, where do I go from here?’”

The most common symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly and urinary symptoms of urgency or frequency. The key, though, is if any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks.

The American Cancer Society estimates this year there will be around 22,240 newly diagnosed cases of ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 women nationally will die of ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is the tenth most common cancer among women, but it is the fifth leading cause of cancer related death for women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

The Alliance claims mortality rates for ovarian cancer have not improved over the past 40 years. It accounts for 3 percent of cancer diagnoses in women.

The five-year survival rate is 44 percent, but early detection increases that to 91.5 percent. Only around 15 percent of women are diagnosed early. The majority of women aren’t diagnosed until the cancer has spread to distant organs or lymph nodes, which brings the five-year survival rate to around 25 percent.

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