YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and a local organization helped “Turn the Towns Teal” to help raise awareness.
In September, teal ribbons cover downtown areas in the Valley — including downtown Youngstown. It’s all for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
Erin Lonsway runs the Rose Mary Flanagan Ovarian Cancer Foundation in honor of her mom, who died of the disease.
“Through her whole diagnosis, she just felt like it was a cancer that was unrecognized but with a lot of questions from women,” Lonsway said. “That’s why she felt like she wanted her voice to be heard and that’s why we started the foundation.”
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 20,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer by the end of the year and over 13,000 women will die from it.
“Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, when you find out about ovarian cancer, it’s already on in an advanced stage,” said Dr. Patrizia Guerrieri, a radiation oncologist at Mercy Health.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.
“The symptoms are generic symptoms, because you have symptoms of fullness or you might have weight loss, abdominal swelling, pain with intercourse,” Dr. Guerrieri said.
There are some genetic risk factors for ovarian cancer. Lonsway encourages anyone experiencing new and persistent symptoms to get checked out by a doctor.
“If it continues to persist, then you persist,” Lonsway said. “You find out what’s going on with your body and just know your body.”