Men, Sex, Ovarian Cancer

I posted recently about Sex Appeal and Ovarian Cancer, and I’d like to expand upon that discussion. I’m most certainly looking for input from you and anyone you know.

What is it about breast cancer that makes it much easier to support? I’ve suggested that it’s the commonality of the disease and the fact that breasts are sexualized/symbols of feminitity.

After a discussion with a man about OC, he provided some interesting insight. Completely ignoring the awareness colors, he postulated that breasts are simply more visible. The last time most men (and some women, I’m sure) even gave ovaries a thought was most likely in sex ed class in middle school (or earlier, depending on where you’re located).  Would ovarian cancer be more prominently discussed if ovaries were just more ‘in your face’?

He was quick to clarify that he was not even suggesting that breasts were in your face because of any sexual reason – they are “just there”. Similar to other cancers that afflict organs not easily seen by the naked eye, this may be why OC is ‘forgotten’. In fact, before this man met me, he had never know anyone who suffered from, succumbed to, or advocated for ovarian cancer. Not surprisingly (and no insult to him), he hadn’t even heard of this cancer before.

We also discussed other major cancers, such as skin cancer and lung cancer. Most of us know to wear sunscreen to protect from sun damage which ultimately leads to skin cancer and other disorders. Some of us choose not to smoke or expose ourselves to poisoned air so as to reduce our risk of lung cancer. Generally, these are active lifestyle choices we can make to help protect ourselves from cancer.

Women are taught from a very early age now that giving yourself a mammogram is key to early detection of breast cancer. Breast cancer, compared to ovarian cancer, is much more easy to detect at a routine doctor’s visit or home examination.

What tests, then, help detect ovarian cancer?

Granted, I’m a bit off topic here, but I do have a point, so stay with me. It is common knowledge amongst the OC community that no good standard screening test exists for OC. This becomes a ‘chicken or the egg’ conundrum: Is this because there was lack of funding and awareness for so long that the technology just isn’t available yet? Or are more cases of OC being diagnosed faster than science can keep up?

Obviously, this is a topic that I’m very interested in discussing more. While simple campaigns for equal funding and awareness are excellent, uncovering the root of the imbalance could help prevent such unequal funding for other cancers. Certainly society’s viewpoint on breasts as feminine objects plays a role in the ease of attention and recall, but how can we make ovaries more visible?

What have you been doing to spread the word? Perhaps the goal should not simply be ‘to raise awareness’, but to level the playing field for all women’s cancers.

As usual, I truly welcome any comments and shares you may think are helpful. This is for everyone affected and those who are not affected…we need to reach the community that has NEVER heard of OC, and gain a whole new audience.