Kiwi charity secures New York Times Square billboard for World Ovarian Cancer Day

May 8, 2020

A media release from Cure Our Ovarian Cancer:

Friday May 8th is World Ovarian Cancer Day, and a young New Zealand woman, Jane Ludemann, has instigated a huge billboard campaign in New York’s Times Square to raise awareness and funding support for the often overlooked deadly disease.

“This campaign is about ensuring women living with ovarian cancer the world over experience hope for a better future. At times it can feel like we’re alone, almost as if we’re in an empty Times Square. That is why we need more eyes on this disease and more investment in research and hopefully we’re making that point with our new campaign,” says Ludemann.

In 2018 a young Canadian model, Elly Mayday, stood in Times Square in her teal underwear to raise awareness and funding for ovarian cancer research. She died of the disease ten months later but her efforts inspired Brianna Wagner to stand in her place in 2019. In 2020, the research charity, Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, planned to mark the day again with an organised fundraising event that involved sixty ovarian cancer sufferers from around the globe gathering in Times Square. 

Unfortunately Covid-19 restrictions made this impossible but Jane, also an ovarian cancer sufferer and founder of Cure Our Ovarian Cancer, was determined to continue the campaign and went on to secure one of the largest billboard’s in Times Square. Ludemann enlisted creative and digital agency Topham Guerin to develop the campaign to highlight the need for crucial research into curing the dangerous cancer, and honour the contribution of Elly Mayday.

Cure Our Ovarian Cancer is a New Zealand based charity dedicated to improving the survival of women with low-grade serous carcinoma. Founded in 2018, they raise funds directly, and through partner organisations in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. They want to see the survival rates of Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma (LGSC) reach those of breast cancer.

About Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian Cancer is the most lethal of all women’s’ cancers, the death rate being double that of breast cancer and it is the seventh most common cancer worldwide. Every year more than 300,000 women are diagnosed with the disease – about the daily number of people that pass through Time Square each day (330,000) – and 180,000 women will die from it. By 2024 the incidence of ovarian cancer will increase by 47% and the number of deaths each year will rise to 293,000 it is predicted. 

Background – Low-Grade Serous Carcinoma (LGSC)

Jane Ludemann was diagnosed with LGSC in 2017. LGSC is an often incurable subtype of ovarian cancer that disproportionately affects young women. Half are diagnosed in their 20s, 30s and 40s and the initial treatment usually consists of menopause inducing surgery, chemotherapy and/or hormone inhibitors.

In 1997 research showed the addition of hormone inhibitors like Letrozole could double the time it takes for a woman’s cancer to return. Letrozole received FDA approval for breast cancer in 1998.

“A 20 year delay in cancer treatments is unacceptable” says Ludemann. 

She was shocked to discover fewer research papers per year were being published on her ovarian cancer per year than on breast cancer papers per day.

“It was hard to believe just how little research was happening anywhere in the world for the cancer trying to kill me.”  

In 2018 she founded research charity Cure Our Ovarian Cancer to raise crucial funds to help researchers find treatments to improve survival.

“It’s a horrible, horrible silent killer and being diagnosed feels really isolating. But, despite what they are going through, we are an amazing community and this is what drives Cure Our Ovarian Cancer.”

“It’s really hard at any age to get this diagnosis, harder still to be diagnosed when you’re in your 20s, 30s and 40s. Elly was really brave and was one of the first women to be really public about her journey, and other women diagnosed looked up to her,” Ludemann says. “This is why we wanted to honour her memory and generate a conversation around ovarian cancer research. It also helps other sufferers to know they are not alone when going through this.”

The theme of this year’s World Ovarian Cancer Day is powerful voices and while there won’t be many people in Times Square because of the lockdown the billboard will provide a powerful voice to raise awareness of the disease and the need for research funding.

The billboard will go live at 4pm New Zealand time (midnight in New York).

You will be able to see it here


5 things every woman & those who love them should know

May 8, 2020

Every woman and those who love them should know about ovarian cancer.

If it is diagnosed early – at stage 1 when the disease is confined to the ovary – survival rates are high.

But ovarian cancer is often diagnosed late when it has spread into the abdomen, and further, and survival rates then are much, much lower.

Lack of knowledge about the disease is one reason it is so often diagnosed late. Another is that the symptoms can be vague and can often be for other, far less serious, conditions.

My daughter had been to her GP for two years with symptoms.

She has a rare subtype of ovarian  – low grade serous carcinoma – which disproportionately strikes younger women.

Sally Rae wrote Jane’s story in  survivor changing focus for the ODT.

Clare de Lore wrote about Jane in  how an ovarian cancer patient is fighting the myth of the ‘silent killer’ for The Listener.

Katie Kenny interviewed her for we’re comfortable talking about breast cancer, but ovarian cancer remains a forgotten disease on Stuff.

Dunedin Central Rotary Club reviewed her speech here.

Jane has a blog janehascancer.com

If you missed my blog post with Jane’s story, you’ll find it at  living under cancer sword.

You can learn more, and donate to lifesaving research at Cure Our Ovarian Cancer


Cancer isn’t cancelled

May 8, 2020

Covid-19 has cancelled many things but cancer isn’t cancelled.

It’s World Ovarian Cancer Day.

  1. A Pap test (cervical smear test) does not detect ovarian cancer
  2. Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage
  3. Diagnosing Ovarian cancer before it spreads makes it much more treatable
  4. Symptom awareness might lead to quicker diagnosis
  5. Common symptoms include:
    a. Persistent bloating
    b. Difficulty eating
    c. Feeling full quickly
    d. Pelvic/abdominal pain
    e. Urinary symptoms

 

Around one in 70 New Zealand will be diagnosed with the disease this year.

Around one in 1,000 will, like my daughter Jane, have the rare subtype low grade serous ovarian cancer that disproportionately strikes younger women.

 

You can learn more at: cureourovariancancer.org

Follow Cure Our Ovarian Cancer on Facebook and  Twitte and Instagram.

Jane’s personal blog is janehascancer.com

 


World Ovarian Cancer Day

May 8, 2018

Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day.

Each year on May 8th, women living with ovarian cancer, their families and supporters, along with patient advocacy organizations from around the world, come together to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. World Ovarian Cancer Day (WOCD) is the one day of the year we all raise our voices in solidarity across the world in the fight against this disease. . .

Ovarian cancer has the lowest survival rate of all female cancers. Most women are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making it more difficult to treat. There are often delays in diagnosing ovarian cancer. That is because there is no early detection test, and symptoms are often confused with symptoms of other less severe illnesses, particularly gastrointestinal complaints.

Five-year ovarian cancer survival rates vary around the world, ranging from 30% to 45%. By comparison, five-year survival rates for women with breast cancer range from 80% to 90%.

Ovarian cancer is overlooked and underfunded – yet every woman in the world is at risk of developing this disease.

You can find more about WOCD on Facebook and Twitter

And more about the disease at Ovarian Cancer New Zealand which lists the symptoms:

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:

Bloating/abdominal (tummy) swelling

Eating less and feeling fuller

Pain in your abdomen/pelvis/back

Needing to pee more often (or leaking)

Other symptoms you might also experience include:

 Bowel changes  Indigestion  Painful Intercourse  Fatigue  Unusual Weight Loss  Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

Remember, symptoms can be vague and easy to ignore so listen to what your body is telling you and then discuss this with your doctor

Image may contain: 14 people, people smiling

Ovarian cancer kills one woman in New Zealand every 48 hours.

Early detection improves outcomes.


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