SOURCE: Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance

March 24, 2015 21:42 ET

Jolie's Brave Move Shines Light on Ovarian Cancer; COCA Serves as Resource for Colorado Women

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Mar 24, 2015) - When Angelina Jolie talks about her genetic predisposition to breast and ovarian cancers, people listen. In her most recent announcement, Jolie shared that she has undergone a salpingo-oophorectomy, the removal of her fallopian tubes and ovaries, after her doctor found cause to suggest this procedure. This is a story that is only too familiar for the staff at the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA).

"We get calls daily from women with advanced ovarian cancer, who only found out after the fact that they were at risk for this disease due to a family history of breast, ovarian or colon cancer," says Jeanene Smith, COCA's Associate Director. "We are certainly familiar with this subject, and know the difficult decisions that women must make when faced with the challenge of a possible ovarian cancer diagnosis."

COCA strives to raise awareness of symptoms and risk factors such as the BRCA 1 & 2 genetic pre-dispositions to breast and ovarian cancers. Their efforts include providing information and materials about ovarian cancer at health fairs across the state, and teaching third year medical students at the University of Colorado Medical School through the national Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women's Lives® program, created by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.

Like Jolie, some women know the risk factors and catch the symptoms early. However, many women are unaware of the symptoms, or realize they have family medical history that is cause for concern. Jolie is helping to change that story, and COCA is so glad she has become an advocate for the cause.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in females in the United States, but it is the deadliest gynecologic cancer. The Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance believes that every woman needs to know the most common symptoms: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency. An annual gynecological exam does not check for this cancer and there is no specific screening test for ovarian cancer so being able to recognize the symptoms, leading to early detection, is critical to saving lives.

COCA, whose mission is to promote awareness and early detection of ovarian cancer through advocacy and education while providing support to people affected by ovarian cancer, will host the nonprofit organization's Sixth Annual Jodi's Race for Awareness June 6 in Denver's City Park. The annual fundraiser features a 5k run/walk, 1-mile family walk, family fun zone, expo area and live entertainment. Registration for the 2015 Jodi's Race for Awareness is underway at www.jodisrace.org.

Media members interested in finding out more information on ovarian cancer are encouraged to contact Jeanene Smith directly at: jeanene@colo-ovariancancer.org or 720-971-9436 (direct).