SPECIAL FEATURE: ‘No woman should die of breast or ovarian cancer:’ CNY’s Hope for Heather reports back following 2019 National Conference



Though some women have more risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer —cancer itself is not biased. It’s not selective. It’s not political. It’s not prejudiced. Take a moment and think about your intermediate family, your closest circle of friends and your co-workers. Somewhere in those groups, including you, are people who have cancer, are currently fighting or have died due to the disease.


Every year, representatives and members of Hope of Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness travels to the National Conference now hosted by Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA). The 2019 gathering, held July 12 to 14 in Seattle, Washington, brought together hundreds of ovarian cancer survivors, caregivers, researchers and community partners like Hope for Heather.


Hope for Heather’s leadership was eager to attend the three-day conference to reconnect with survivors and community partners from across the country. In addition, one of this year’s keynote speakers included Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., a geneticist at the University of Washington. King first discovered BRCA1, the breast and ovarian cancer gene, in 1990. Her work on BRCA1 was a game-changer for how scientists thought about the role of genetics in complex diseases such as cancer.


During King’s talk, she discussed how far research has come and how we should truly be living in a world where, “no woman should die of breast or ovarian cancer.” Because of King’s findings, women who are affected can make informed decisions about cancer prevention and screening options available to them, saving countless lives.


Early detection is key in any cancer diagnosis. According to OCRA, women diagnosed at an early stage — before ovarian cancer has spread — have a much higher five-year survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage.


Being your own best health advocate is important and for those willing to share education with others could mean saving a life.


“Join Hope for Heather by remembering TEAL,” said Frieda Weeks, founder of Hope for Heather. “TEAL stands for ‘tell every amazing lady’ about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. They can seem common or easy to brush off. Bloating, constipation, urgency to urinate, feeling full sooner when eating, pelvic pressure and changes in bowel movements.”


Weeks and the Hope for Heather team welcome every to TEAL by using resources on the website, hopeforheather.org, or stop by their booth inside the Science and Industry Building during the New York State Fair. Pick up a teal ribbon and symptom card for yourself and a few more for women you call family, friends and co-workers. It could save their life.


Farah F. Jadran is the media spokeswoman for Hope for Heather Ovarian Cancer Awareness. She is the CBS5 anchor for CBS This Morning and CBS at Noon for CNYCentral in Syracuse. Farah also served as editor of SWM for more than four years after she helped launch it in January 2011.


Men of Teal 2019

For the next 30 days, Hope for Heather will introduce you to the 2019 Men of Teal roster featuring Central New York men who have pledged to raise ovarian cancer awareness by passing out teal ribbons and symptom cards. To learn more follow #MenOfTeal on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with @Hope4Heather throughout September — National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.