By: Jacqueline Kohl, MD, MPH
Why I’m Wearing Teal This September
Most people don’t think of teal as a fall color but it is for me. It’s just as much a part of my fall routine as stocking up on back-to-school supplies and pumpkin everything. September is ovarian cancer awareness month – and teal ribbons are used to raise awareness for this deadly disease.
As a gynecologist who cares about women’s health, it’s important to me to inform patients about early signs and risks factors so we can catch it sooner rather than later. But for me, it’s also personal. Someone near and dear to me has been battling ovarian cancer for the last 10 years.
It is the second most common gynecologic cancer in the U.S., and the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women. Each year, there are around 22,000 new cases and 14,000 deaths from ovarian cancer nationally. About 80% of ovarian cancers are late stage by the time they’re diagnosed. With increased awareness and early intervention, we can change those numbers. Start by knowing your personal risk and learning what signs to look for.
Risk factors for ovarian cancer
- Family history of ovarian cancer
- Early puberty or late menopause
- Older age
- Genetic mutations like BRCA or Lynch syndrome
- Infertility or endometriosis
Common signs of ovarian cancer
- Bloating or increase in abdominal size
- Pelvic pain or abdominal pain
- Trouble with eating, or feeling full quickly
- Urinating frequently or with urgency
What if I’m at risk?
Knowing the symptoms can save your life. About 80% of women with early stage cancer are cancer-free in five years. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, schedule an appointment today. We can do an exam, review your risk factors and even perform a pelvic ultrasound in the office. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or a known cancer-causing mutation, schedule a visit to discuss genetic testing.
Join Me for This Year’s Virtual “Together in Teal” Event
On September 26, I’ll be jogging in my neighborhood to raise awareness and funds for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. You can find the Philadelphia chapter at http://ovarian.org/connect/find-a-local-chapter/delaware-valley. You can learn more about ovarian cancer, donate, and join me in lacing up for this year’s virtual fundraising event. This organization is near and dear to my heart and to my family, so let’s be “Together in Teal”!
Pictured below is me (right) with my cousin from the 2019 event.