Donate to Ovarian Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer among women and the deadliest of gynecologic cancers, with mortality rates slightly higher for Caucasian women than African-American women. The American Cancer Society estimates that, this year, approximately 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, and approximately 14,000 women will die of the disease. Research has never been more crucial. By making a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will help scientists at Northwestern Medicine to advance leading-edge research with the potential to lead to improved treatments–and, ideally, a cure–for ovarian cancer. 

Scientists have learned that ovarian cancer comprises several distinct diseases, which are named for the type of tissue in which they are found: epithelial, germ cell and stromal. These are the three main cell types that make up the ovary. Each cell type can develop into a different type of tumor, and each type differs in how it spreads, and in how it is diagnosed and treated.

  • Epithelial cell: These are the cells that cover the surface of the ovary. This is the most common ovarian cancer, and while most ovarian epithelial tumors are benign (noncancerous), malignant epithelial tumors are the most common and dangerous.
  • Germ cell: This type of cancer is rare, and arises from the reproductive cells of the ovary.
  • Stromal cell: These are the cells that form the structural tissue of the ovary and produce hormones. This is a very rare type of cancer, which arises from connective tissue cells.

Currently, there are no reliable screening or early detection tests  for ovarian cancer. However, your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation in support of ovarian cancer research and care will help physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine to identify new, effective means of treating this challenging disease. 

Ovarian cancer has symptoms, but they are easily associated with other more common problems. In rare occasions, early-stage ovarian cancers may produce symptoms, but in the majority of women, symptoms appear when the cancer is in an advanced stage. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • General discomfort in the lower abdomen, including: bloating, gas, indigestion and nausea.
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Painful intercourse
  • Menstrual irregularities

Being aware of these potential symptoms may help women to share questions and concerns with their physicians soon after they begin to experience discomfort, pain and other changes. These important conversations between women and their physicians may help to accelerate the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. And yet, research has shown that symptom recognition alone does not necessarily lead to early detection of ovarian cancer. For this reason, further research is essential, so that scientists can develop new tests, unique to the ovaries, to help detect ovarian cancer at an early, treatable stage. Your generous support will help to accelerate this crucial research, which has the power to change, and to save, many lives.

Ovarian Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Thanks to recent, significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer, as well as increased awareness of possible symptoms, women diagnosed with ovarian cancer today are living longer, fuller lives. With your support, physicians and scientists at Northwestern Medicine will continue to build upon this progress and will strive to make additional, important breakthroughs that will benefit many women affected by ovarian cancer.

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