Georgetown turns ‘teal’ for ovarian cancer awareness

GEORGETOWN — For years, ovarian cancer has been known as the “silent killer” because it’s difficult to detect, particularly in its early stages.

This, in turn, results in high mortality rates.
Friday morning, several volunteers joined Georgetown Mayor Bill West, his wife Faye West and State Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, in Turn the Town Teal – the town’s annual ovarian cancer awareness campaign.

Dozens of teal-colored bows – symbols of September National Ovarian Cancer Month – were placed on poles and other appropriate places along The Circle and portions of the East Market Street/downtown district.
“Ironically, you don’t have a lot of survivors. It’s not like breast cancer … because usually by the time you have it (diagnosed), it has metastasized to other areas,” said Rep. Briggs King.

The goal of Turn the Town Teal is to increase awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
“If we increase awareness about it and people know … there are so many mimickers, other things than can make you think it’s something when really, it’s not,” said Ms. Briggs King.

Georgetown resident Dennis Winzenried volunteered for the teal bow campaign.

“Basically, I have a number of family members that have suffered from different forms of cancer. We’ve lost some people, good friends to different forms of cancer,” Mr. Winzenried said. “It’s a fight that we need to keep going, until we find a cure for all types of cancer. We have to do everything we can to support it.”
Only about one in five cases of ovarian cancer are found early.
“And there is not a lot of screenings you can do for it. It’s not like every year a woman can have a Pap smear (testing for cervical cancer) or a guy can have a PSA (a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer). There is just not a lot of screening for it.”

Volunteers gather.

Statistics/data
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2019 are:
• About 22,530 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer;
• About 13,980 women will die from ovarian cancer.
According to the ASC, ovarian cancer:
• Ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system;
• A woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108. (These statistics do not count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.);
• Mainly develops in older women. About half of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older;
• Is more common in white women than African-American women.

The rate at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer has been slowly falling over the past 20 years, according to the cancer society.
Signs, symptoms
Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. While women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread, even early-stage ovarian cancer can cause them.

Most common symptoms include: bloating; pelvic or abdominal (belly) pain; trouble eating or feeling full quickly; urinary symptoms such as urgency or frequency.

ther symptoms of ovarian cancer: fatigue (extreme tiredness); upset stomach; back pain; pain during sex; constipation; changes in a woman’s period such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding; and abdominal swelling with weight loss.
Awareness campaign takes the fifth
This is believed to be the fifth Turn the Town Teal campaign in Georgetown.
“I think we were the first in Sussex that did it, to increase awareness for ovarian cancer,” said Rep. Briggs King. “I’m thinking I started this about five years ago, when I was first approached about it.

“For me, the personal connection is proximity you have for something. My sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“She is not a survivor. For her, she was in her early 60s and by the time they found out that was the problem, it had metastasized.”

“We’ve made some great strides in other areas, but there are other areas, like ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer that are severely behind,” said Mr. Winzenried. “We definitely need to have public awareness and support to hopefully one day find a cure for it, and at least effective treatment.”
For more information on ovarian cancer, visit the American Cancer Society at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/ovarian-cancer.html.

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