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Ovarian cancer walk raises $35,000

By Joan Pham
On September 21, 2009

The annual Break the Silence walk, hosted by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, attracted 800 participants to the Health Science Campus on Saturday.

The University to Toledo Medical Center has partnered with the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition to promote awareness of ovarian cancer for the past five years.

This year's turn out almost doubled last year's turnout of 500 participants and included UT students, cancer survivors and those who have lost family members to the disease.

Noteworthy attendees included Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Gini Steinke, president of the NOCC.

UT is only one of the institutions that partners with a variety of more than 80 national NOCC chapters to host the Break the Silence walk.

According to the National Cancer Institute, 21,000 women are diagnosed yearly with ovarian cancer. Of those diagnosed, 15,000 do not survive.

"There are some groups of women who do not go to the doctor for check-ups and need to be educated," Kaptur said.

According to Kaptur, lack of ovarian cancer education is most often the cause of late detection.

Kelly Manahan, associate professor of gynecology, stressed the importance of events such as these.

"More awareness and support leads to advocacy and public knowledge, and the cancer walk raises money, which allows for new technology, which can aid the prevention and detection of ovarian cancer," she said.

According to the "Break the Silence" survey conducted by Impulse Research Corporation, sponsored by the NOCC, 82 percent of women have never talked to their doctor about the symptoms and risk factors of the disease.

The survey also found that while 53 percent of women are familiar with the symptoms of breast cancer, only 15 percent of women are familiar with the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

During the opening ceremony, Nathan Manahan,co-founder of Women's Oncology Research and Development, announced that the first Heartland tissue bank will be opening this year at the UT Medical Center.

"These banks, which store ovarian cancer tissue for research projects, will allow for further research, which might lead to potential breakthroughs," Manahan said.

This year's walk grossed $35,000, a substantial increase from last year's $17,000. The proceeds will be donated to NOCC to fund awareness and education campaigns about the disease.

Cancer walks allow for the community to come together and fight for a common cause, generating awareness, which can potentially lead to higher survival rates, Steinke said .

Participants of the walk observed a moment of silence as the names of those who passed away from ovarian cancer were listed during the opening ceremony.

White doves were released at the end of the ceremony in honor of those who have battled ovarian cancer and survived.

In addition, participants were encouraged to bring photos, poems or other articles to be displayed on the "Whisper Wall" to honor those who have been affected by the disease.

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