COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The month of September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, so survivors, fighters, and advocates are shedding light on ovarian cancer.
That includes the annual Strides for Hope walk, which is going virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer in women, and it often goes undetected until it reaches the advanced stages. The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio aims to bring hope through education.
“Many people don’t know that ovarian cancer is considered one of the silent killers,” said Kim Britt, president of the Board of Directors at Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio.
Britt has been busy packing race packets and planning for the annual walk and survivor’s breakfast, but her passion for finding a cure for ovarian cancer comes from her own story. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 30 years old.
“It’s almost like if you were to push in on your stomach, and there’s no give to it,” said Britt.
Britt actually thought she had the flu, so she went to the emergency room where doctors said the words feared most by patients.
“We’re actually going to admit you right away,” Britt said.
After undergoing several tests, she received her diagnosis.
“We’re seeing something the size of about a Nerf football, and I’m just like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ And he said, ‘Honey, you have cancer,'” Britt said.
She remains grateful to her team of doctors for saving her life that day. She is now 10 years cancer-free, and she wants all women to consult their doctors about the warning symptoms of the disease.
“Biggest symptoms are going to be bloating, urinary symptoms of feeling like you have to go to the bathroom all the time, any new abdominal or pelvic pain or feeling full after meals,” said Dr. Kellie Rath, a gynecological oncologist with OhioHealth.
According to the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio, every 23 minutes, another woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, one in every 75 women will develop ovarian cancer in her lifetime, and 14,000 women die of the disease each year. Britt says raising awareness is key.
“For ovarian cancer, unfortunately, there’s no screening, there’s no way for us to check women once a year to see if they have it, so, being in touch with your body is important,” Rath said. The “Strides for Hope” walk is taking place virtually this year due to the pandemic. To sign up, click here.