Efforts including financial assistance, fundraising and education are underway to mark Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
The annual September observance includes specialty lender Fifth Season Financial, which seeks to ease the financial burden of treatment of ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and other advanced-stage disorders. The lender’s Funds for Living and Giving (FLAG) program advances a substantial portion of an asset that many patients already have — life insurance.
Through the program, U.S. patients are advanced a portion of their policy within four to six weeks of approval, with no limits on how funds are used. Throughout the process, each policy remains valid and intact. The money is ultimately repaid using policy proceeds, and in more than 90 percent of cases, funds remain for beneficiaries, the lender said in a news release.
“Financial toxicity is a distressing and far-too-common experience, but it doesn’t need to be,” Adam Balinsky, president of Fifth Season Financial, said in a press release. “We provide financial relief to individuals at a time when they need it most. As these burdens are lifted, quality of life can be improved.”
Over 12 years, the program has provided more than $190 million in financial assistance to some 600 patients.
Elsewhere, a jewelry company is continuing its participation with the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA) — the largest non-government funder of ovarian cancer research — to bring awareness to the disease projected to affect 22,530 women in the United States this year. Globally, there are nearly 600,000 women within five years of a diagnosis living with ovarian cancer.
For the third year, through Dec. 31, the Crown of Light diamond brand will donate $25 to OCRA from every purchase of select items from its Black Berry Collection, which includes rings, bangles, earrings, and necklaces. The jewelry is sold exclusively through Diamonds International’s more than 130 locations. Go here for more information.
“Our dedication to social responsibility includes our relationship with OCRA,” Albert Gad, CEO of Diamonds International, said in a statement. “Until there is a cure for patients with ovarian cancer, count on Crown of Light and Diamonds International to stand by OCRA’s heroic efforts.”
Meanwhile, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) is urging people to learn about disease signs and symptoms, which are often vague or silent. There’s also no easy or reliable way to screen for ovarian cancer. As a result, only 15 percent of women are diagnosed in the disease’s early stages. While 14,000 women die annually from ovarian cancer, the five-year survival rate, with early treatment, jumps to more than 90 percent.
Warning that a Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer, the NOCC has issued these warning signs:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Difficulty eating, or a premature feeling of fullness
- Urinary symptoms
- Nausea, indigestion, gas, constipation or diarrhea, backaches, unexplained weight gain/loss
- Menstrual changes
- Pain during sex
If symptoms do not resolve with normal interventions, such as diet change, exercise, laxatives, or rest, within 10 days to two weeks, women are advised to consult their gynecologist or physician.
In addition, there are risk factors that include genetic predisposition, personal or family history of ovarian, breast, or colon cancer; increasing age, reproductive history and infertility, and hormone replacement therapy.
“Ovarian cancer can affect women at any stage of life,” Melissa Aucoin, the coalition’s CEO, said in a press release. “We want to encourage and empower all women to listen to their bodies. By raising awareness about ovarian cancer, we can all work together to improve outcomes and the quality of life for survivors.”
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