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'Girls Night Out' fundraiser benefits WNY Ovarian Cancer Project

by jmaloni

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Sat, May 17th 2014 07:00 am

On Friday, June 6, Dr. Juliana Marciniak is hosting the second annual "Girls Night Out" fundraiser, from 6-9 p.m. at Peak Performance Chiropractic & Wellness Center, 2625 Delaware Ave. This event will benefit the work of the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project.

Marciniak's aunt passed away from ovarian cancer in 2001. Marciniak owns Peak Performance Chiropractic. She is a strong supporter of the work of the WNY OCP, and the importance of symptom and risk education and support for women with this deadly disease.

"All women are at some risk for ovarian cancer, and the awareness programs like those of the WNY OCP are our communities best defense," Marciniak said.

 "Girls Night Out' will feature more than 40 vendors, ranging in theme from wine and food to jewelry and makeup. Tickets are $10 presale and $15 at the door. Tickets are available online at http://wnyovariancancerproject.com/girlsnightout.html.

Organizers point to statistics showing just 45 percent of women with ovarian cancer are likely to survive for five years, compared with 89 percent of women with breast cancer. There is no test for the early detection of ovarian cancer, a disease characterized by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late-stage diagnosis.

This year in the U.S., approximately 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer and more than 14,000 will die. Formerly known as the "silent killer," there is new evidence ovarian cancer does have symptoms. Most women do not know about this very important information or realize they may personally be at risk.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer, which is the deadliest of all the gynecologic cancers, are often confused with less serious conditions such as gastrointestinal complaints. Symptoms include:

  • Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)
  • Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Needing to pass urine more urgently or more frequently
  • Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Changes in bowel habits; constipation/diarrhea
  • Menstrual irregularities

Approximately 15 percent of cases of ovarian cancer are due to family history. This means having a close blood relation (mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, granddaughter, aunt or niece) on either a mother's or father's side of the family who has had breast cancer before the age of 50 or ovarian cancer at any age. Most women are unaware of their personal risk factors.

Risk factors include:

  • Age: Risk increases with age; most women are diagnosed over the age of 55.
  • Family history.
  • Personal history: Cancer of the breast, uterus, colon or rectum.
  • Reproductive history: No children or difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: menopausal HRT.
  • Ethnicity: European, North American or Ashkenazi Jewish descent.
  • Genetic testing: BRCA 1 or 2, Lynch syndrome (HNPCC).

In addition to sharing symptom and risk information, the WNY OCP focuses on prevention of ovarian cancer and support for women with ovarian caner. Last year, the WNY OCP started its "Comfort & Hope" tote program. Totes are given free of charge to every woman with ovarian cancer in Western New York through gynecologic oncologists' offices. The totes include a soft fleece blanket, small cooler, water bottle and other items to take to chemotherapy, as well as a message of hope and inspiration from women who have traveled the same journey.

This year, the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project launched two new initiatives: its "Cancer Answers Program," a series of free expert lectures with time for questions on topics relevant to women with ovarian cancer and anyone with a cancer diagnosis; and a professionally led "Tele-Support" group for women with ovarian cancer. This conference call support group is a lifeline for women who live too far or are too ill to participate in a face-to-face group.

The first professionally facilitated face-to-face support group is set to begin this month. Both support groups are free of charge, as are all the programs of the WNY OCP.

About the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project Inc.

Founded in 2012, the WNY Ovarian Cancer Project Inc. is the only private, nonprofit organization in Western New York that provides symptom and risk education and support and information to women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families.

The WNY Ovarian Cancer Project aims to educate the community on the symptoms and risks of ovarian cancer, and provides needed supportive services for women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in all 12 counties of Western New York.

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