For 16 years the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) has strived to assure that this type of cancer is not forgotten.  To that end, the annual Run/Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer will take place this Sunday at the City of Grand Prairie’s Lone Star Park.

Sarah Harris, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Manager of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition said the Annual Run Walk is the NOCC's signature event.  It is hosted annually by more than 25 NOCC chapters in communities nationwide.

“These events increase awareness, honor those affected by ovarian cancer, and raise crucial funds to support the NOCC's national and local programs and services,” Harris said. “Through these events, the community is empowered, survivors are honored and those lost to the disease are remembered. This spirit continues with the ongoing participation of both groups and teams, even after a loved one is lost.”

Starting in 1998 as the "Walk for a Whisper" 5k Walk/Run, the event has expanded significantly over the years. Harris said the impact made nationwide through the event is staggering with 113,961 people participating over the past 16 years.

Normally the event draws from 1500 to 2000 folks participating each year.

Each year a number of teams participate in a group effort too. The groups are formed in memory of someone the team members know who have passed away or who is still fighting ovarian cancer.  Teams like the Knockouts, participating in memory of their wife/mother/sister/friend, Cindy Bartkoski who started the team in 2007 after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and who died in 2010. The 2016 race will be the tenth year that the Knockouts have participated in the race.

There is also the LaRue Crew for Sue Team, the Bam! What? Team, the CA 125s Team and Irene’s Dream Team, which began in 2009 with the team walking with their mom until she passed away before the 2012 Run/Walk.

“The DFW Chapter usually raises around $200,000 each year,” Harris said adding that this year they hope to reach $250,000. 

“The NOCC's goal is to educate communities and increase awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer,” Harris explained. “The NOCC also provides information to assist newly-diagnosed patients, hope to survivors and support to caregivers.”

The NOCC is also committed to the advancement of ovarian cancer research.

Each year more than 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and over 14,000 women die from the disease, Harris said.

Because these signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer have been described as vague or silent, only approximately 19 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. Symptoms typically occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form.

“Unfortunately, most cases are diagnosed in later stages, when the prognosis is poor,” Harris said. “However, if diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. That is why it is imperative that the early signs and symptoms of the disease are recognized, not only by women, but by their families and the healthcare community.”

There is currently no early detection test for ovarian cancer. The Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer and Harris said until there is a screening test, the key to early diagnosis is awareness and being knowing the subtle symptoms like bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, feeling the need to urinate urgently or often, fatigue, upset stomach or heartburn, back pain, pain during sex and constipation or menstrual changes. If these symptoms persist for more than two weeks it is recommended that the person see a doctor.

Harris encourages folks to come out on Sunday where there will be a booth set up offering ovarian cancer information.

When: Sunday, September 25, 2016

Registration opens at 7:00 a.m. and the event kicks off at 8:00 a.m.

Where: at Lone Star Park, 1000 Lone Star Park, Grand Prairie

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