Ovarian cancer is the seventh-most common cancer among women and claims more lives than any of the other gynecologic cancers.
For the Kozlowski family of Brocton, that information comes as no surprise. Joyce Kozlowski - daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend to so many - lost her long and valiant struggle with ovarian cancer seven years ago.
Her fighting spirit lives on in her daughter, Sandy Miller. For several years, Sandy, her dad, Tom, and her brothers, Dave and Mike along with their families, and a group of dedicated friends organized the annual Joyce Kozlowski Memorial 5K Run and Fun Walk in Brocton. This event has raised more than $47,000 for the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry to conduct ovarian cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
Members of the Kozlowski family present the first donation check to Dr. Piver and Cathy Fahey of the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.
Now, during Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, Sandy would like to make sure others know about ovarian cancer with the hope that it will result in earlier diagnosis and improved cancer care for women diagnosed with this disease.
Until recently, ovarian cancer was called the "silent cancer" because symptoms for the disease were vague and difficult to identify. However, women should be aware that ovarian cancer does have warning signs. Recent studies have shown that the following symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than women in the general population. These symptoms include: bloating; pelvic or abdominal pain; difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly; and urinary urgency or frequency.
Women with ovarian cancer report that symptoms are persistent and represent a change from normal for their bodies. Women who have these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks should see their doctor, preferably a gynecologist.
Ovarian cancer information is readily provided by the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry, which celebrates its 28th anniversary this year. The registry is a national computer tracking system that stores data for women with two or more close relatives who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It offers education, information and a hotline for women at high risk (family history) of ovarian cancer. The registry is conducting research to identify new genes associated with familial ovarian cancer.
To learn about ovarian cancer, call the Gilda Radner Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry at 1-800-OVARIAN or visit www.ovariancancer.com.