Lawmakers, UK HealthCare recognizes the saving of surviving ovarian cancer screening

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ / Press Release) – As part of National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman, former first lady Jane Beshear, Kentucky House Democratic Caucus Leader Joni Jenkins and Rep. Cherlynn Stevenson has joined UK HealthCare to highlight the long-term work of the University of Kentucky (UK) Markey Cancer Center’s Ovarian Cancer Screening Program.

The program is an ongoing, 34-year research study that shows that annual ultra-sound screening continues to detect ovarian cancer at an earlier stage than is possible in a clinical trial.

Governor Andy Beshear declared September to be Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in Kentucky.

“The Ovarian Cancer Outreach Program in the UK provides thousands of Kentucky women with free, easy screening each year, giving them peace of mind about their health or the best chance at fighting recovery. by early detection, ”Beshear said.

“The UK, UK HealthCare and the UK’s Markey Cancer Center are indispensable partners with Team Kentucky when it comes to a key goal of Beshear-Coleman management: ensuring that healthcare is accepted as a fundamental human right and accessible by all in the Commonwealth, ”Lt. said. Governor Coleman.

Lt. said. Governor Coleman this year, the governor added an allocation of $ 500,000 for the UK General Ovarian Fund another $ 300,000 from Tobacco Settlement Agreement funds.

Markey’s Ovarian Screening Program was initiated in 1987 by Markey oncologist Dr. John R. van Nagell Jr. and his colleagues. The goal was to determine whether transvaginal sonography could be an effective method of early detection of ovarian cancer.

For more than 50 years, ovarian cancer has remained the leading cause of cancer death in gynecologic cancer in the United States. This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 13,770 deaths from ovarian cancer will be reported in the United States, making it the fifth leading cause of cancer death in women.

When it is noticed early, women are often well versed in existing treatment methods. However, most women have no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. As the disease progresses, survival rates drop sharply. In 2018, Dr. published. van Nagell of a study in Obstetrics and Gynecology that showed that annual ultrasound screening of women at risk asymptomatically increases the survival rates of women with type I and type II epithelial ovarian cancer.

“Although regular pelvic examination is important and detects many other abnormalities, including cervical cancer, they are not effective in detecting ovarian cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages,” Drs. van Nagell. “Early detection is essential to saving lives. In fact, the 5-year survival of women whose cancer is detected by screening is 86%-which is twice as high as in unscreened ones.

Transvaginal sonography is painless, radiation -free and can be completed in less than 15 minutes. During the examination, a small vaginal probe is used to take a sonographic picture of the ovaries, and to measure ovarian volume. This method detects ovarian tumors even if they are too small to be diagnosed with an annual examination.

So far, nearly 345,230 free screening tests have been given to more than 49,358 Kentucky women, and women from every province in the state have participated in this program. Through screening, 632 ovarian tumors and 110 ovarian malignancies were detected, as well as 23 non-ovarian malignancies. Currently, screenings are being conducted at four locations across the state, including Lexington, Elizabethtown, Somerset and Paducah.

Currently, more than 5,800 women have already scheduled a screening from September 1, 2021 to January 1, 2023.

“Right now, it’s more important than ever for people to remain vigilant about their health, including maintaining their regular schedule of health checks,” said Mark F. Newman, MD, UK executive president for in health matters. “We know that many cancer screenings have been delayed or skipped in the past 16 months due to the pandemic, but it’s important to stay on top of your screenings to avoid future health problems. Ovarian cancer screening is not widely available nationwide, so I urge Kentucky women to take advantage of this unique opportunity to take control of their own health by joining the UK Ovarian Screening Program when they are eligible. ”

Initial funding for the program came from the Telford Foundation and the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association (KEHA). The late Virginia McCandless, a Barren County Extension Homemaker began an ovarian cancer research recruitment effort with Drs. van Nagell in 1977. Their desire to raise $ 1 from each KEHA member. His idea went away, and KEHA members supported it by participating in regular screenings and challenging each province to donate at least $ 1 per member annually.

“We are proud of KEHA’s dedication to the life -saving program,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “Their fundraising efforts have raised more than $ 1.5 million, but their work really goes beyond fundraising. They regularly participate in the screening program, organizing trips to the sites. screening from across the state, promoting ovarian cancer awareness and hosting educational events about ovarian cancer.This program positively affects Kentucky women and represents the kind of research that should be conducted by a university that provides land to a state. “

The Ovarian Cancer Screening Program is open to women age 50 or older, or women over age 25 who have a family history of ovarian cancer. Screening is free. For more information, call (859) 323-4687 or (800) 766-8279.

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