Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Chatham Resident who Started the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Campaign is Remembered

Morris County Freeholders Proclaim September 2018 “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month”The Morris County Board of Freeholders today proclaimed September 2018 to be “Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in Morris County, and hailed the efforts of the Mendham-based Turn the Towns Teal national organization that is working raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

“The work of Turn the Towns Teal and their dedicated volunteers across the county have educated a generation of women about the symptoms and risk factors associated with this deadly disease,” said Freeholder Cabana. “We urge all residents to help promote awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms by pacing teal ribbons around trees where they live and work.”

Morris County Freeholders Proclaim September 2018 “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month”

Morris County Freeholders declared September 2018 “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month” today, as Freeholder Director Doug Cabana presented a proclamation to “Turn the Towns Teal” president Jane MacNeil, whose late sister-in-law, Chatham resident Gail MacNeil both inspired and founded the organization. 

Known as the “silent disease” because its symptoms are often vague and subtle, ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women.

If detected in its early stages, the survival rate from ovarian cancer is as high as 95 percent, yet the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is just 46 percent because it is so difficult to diagnose at an early stage – and survival rates depend on the stage of diagnosis.

Turn the Towns Teal, now a national initiative partnering with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, continues the work of education in the hopes of helping other women.

Gail MacNeil was fastidious about her health and went for regular medical checkups, but her concerns about her health were diagnosed as the onset of middle age, when, in fact, they were signs of ovarian cancer. She began the awareness campaign in 2007 to spare other women and families what she endured, and ultimately took her life.

A pap test does not detect ovarian cancer. According to the Turn the Towns Teal website, potential symptoms of ovarian cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Vague but persistent gastrointestinal upsets such as gas, nausea, or indigestion
  • Difficulty eating OR feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
  • Unexplained changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight gain/loss
  • Ongoing unusual fatigue
  • Back Pain
  • Menstrual changes
  • Pain during intimacy

If symptoms persist for 10 days to 2 weeks, women should consult a gynecologist, physician or preferably a gynecological oncologist.

Risk Factors Linked to Ovarian Cancer:

  • Genetic predisposition (BRCA1/BRCA2 gene)
  • Personal or family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer
  • Increasing age
  • Reproductive history and infertility
  • Hormone replacement therapy

For more information, visit Turn the Towns Teal; the organization has an extensive list of symptoms and risk factors and an extensive list of ovarian cancer resources.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance website is www.ocrfa.org. Gail MacNeil was also a co-founder of Kaleidoscope of Hope Ovarian Cancer Foundation.

For more information and other symptoms, visit the American Cancer Society’s website on ovarian cancer.