Press Releases

Kelly Mellott

President Obama Signs Proclamation Designating September National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Washington DC (September 3, 2009) – In recognizing the importance of raising awareness about ovarian cancer, President Obama issued a proclamation Tuesday, September 1, designating September National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition initiated the process in a letter sent to President Obama (whose mother died of ovarian cancer), joining in an effort to remind women that ovarian cancer remains the deadliest of gynecologic cancers and that early detection is the best chance of surviving the disease.

“This month, we recommit to supporting the women who continue to battle valiantly against this malady as well as all families who are affected,” the Proclamation asserts. “By learning more about risk factors and maintaining regular physician consultations, women have their best chance of early detection of ovarian cancer.”

Nationally, hundreds of grass-roots efforts are underway to encourage people to wear teal on Friday, September 4, as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with this cause. Since fewer than 20% of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in the early stages, when survival rates are highest, 15,000 women will die each year from this disease. Unfortunately, since many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer often mimic other, less life threatening diseases, an early diagnosis may be overlooked. By helping women to recognize the symptoms, and monitor their persistency, women can become stronger advocates for their own health. Symptoms include: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency.

The CEOs of the three major ovarian cancer groups working with the White House on the President’s proclamation noted that in the more than 30 years since the War on Cancer was declared, ovarian cancer mortality rates have not significantly improved. The President’s proclamation underscores this important effort to help educate women and their physicians, and is a major step in helping us draw national attention to ovarian cancer and our commitment to conquering this disease.

There is no definitive test for ovarian cancer, so experts suggest a combination of pelvic/rectal exam, a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound.

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About the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that provides public education and awareness about ovarian cancer through a toll-free Help Line, local NOCC Chapters, comprehensive website, peer support, publications, and awareness/educational programs.  NOCC’s mission is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer.  The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. For more information on the “Break the Silence” campaign and to contact one of the local NOCC Chapters, visit or call 1-888-OVARIAN.


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