Just over a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending LOVE HER; Ovarian Cancer Canada‘s second annual cross-country gala at Corus Quay in Toronto. The evening, filled with fashion, comedy, cocktails, music, and auctions, was most definitely fun and exciting, but, more importantly, it was alarmingly eye-opening.
When abruptly faced with the question “so do you know anything about ovarian cancer?” in conversation, I had to admit that I knew almost nothing, and (embarrassingly) thought it was similar or the same as cervical cancer.
Thankfully, I was quickly assured that it’s not uncommon for people to know very little (to nothing at all) about ovarian cancer. But after finding out that it’s the 5th most fatal women’s cancer, which currently only receives 2.1% of cancer donations, I couldn’t help but think: “well why the hell doesn’t anybody know about it?”
It gets worse: according to Ovarian Cancer Canada, many doctors are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of this cancer and fail to consider it as a possible diagnosis. By the way, the PAP test does not act as a screening test for ovarian cancer, nor does the HPV vaccine help prevent it. Currently, an effective early detection test does not exist.
So that’s just great, isn’t it? I don’t know anything about ovarian cancer, you don’t know anything about ovarian cancer, heck, our doctors don’t even know anything about it!
It seems like ovarian cancer is the underdog of cancers, the one that no one really “gets” or understands, so is just left ignored. Because of this, the majority of those with ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until a very late stage, which leaves 70% of those women with less than 5 years to live.
This post isn’t meant to get you down, but to get your fired up. Why is it that this dangerous disease that is killing women across the country is not getting the attention it deserves?
Currently, Ovarian Cancer Canada is the only national charity dedicated to overcoming ovarian cancer, and has been doing so for the past 15 years. The only way we can help make a change is to be aware, to be informed, and help in any way we can, big or small, to protect the future of our own bodies, and the bodies of the women we love.
A few facts, signs and symptoms:
– Ovarian cancer is the 5th most fatal women’s cancer
– 17,000 women in Canada are currently living with ovarian cancer
– The PAP test does not serve as a screening test
– Older women are at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer
– Common signs include swelling or bloating of the abdomen, pelvic discomfort, emptying your bladder frequently, and menstrual irregularities.
– Other symptoms include pain with intercourse and vaginal bleeding.
– To date, no single test can reliably detect ovarian cancer at a presymptomatic stage.
For more on detecting ovarian cancer, click HERE
If ovarian cancer is only receiving 2.1% of cancer donations, it’s obvious that it needs our help. The LOVE HER event has been successful in not only raising awareness (hello, I knew none of this until I attended!), but raising crucial funds for the fight against the most fatal of women’s cancers. This year alone, the LOVER HER event in Toronto raised $240,000.Tickets were sold for only $200 a pop, which included unlimited drinks and incredible food throughout the evening. Not to mention the great entertainment. Comedian Jessica Holmes was hilarious as Liza Minnelli, and later had everyone crying with laughter as she impersonated the one and only Celine Dion. We also got to see some chic new looks from Canadian womenswear brand, Judith & Charles, during their runway show. Oh, and there were firefighters, A LOT of firefighters who got on stage, took off their shirts, and danced around, all in an effort to save the women they love. Take a tour of this year’s gala by flipping through the photos below, I really encourage you to consider making LOVE HER an annual event to attend in your calendar, I know I will.
All event images by Katherine Holland