Local organization makes global efforts to raise awareness for ovarian cancer

EMBED </>More Videos

An Olympic gold medal gymnast will be honored Saturday at the Ovarcome annual gala for her efforts in raising awareness for the disease. (KTRK)

On May 8, people and organizations around the world are uniting to raise awareness for ovarian cancer.

According to Ovariancancerday.org, the disease has the lowest survival rate of all gynecologic cancers, and is characterized around the world by a lack of awareness of symptoms and late stage diagnosis.

Common symptoms include:
  • Increased abdominal size / persistent bloating (not bloating that comes and goes)

  • Difficulty eating/feeling full quickly

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain

  • Needing to pass urine more urgently or more frequently

Local non-profit Ovarcome has made global efforts to spread awareness for the disease.

Runsi Sen is the CEO, president and founder of the organization. Her passion for the cause goes above and beyond, as she knows firsthand what's it is like to have a loved one suffer from ovarian cancer.

"My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2008. We fought against the cancer for almost one year, but there was no chance for us to win," Sen said. "She was an amazingly beautiful woman - both inside and out. No one has inspired and loved me like she did. We had a connection of lifetimes," Sen said.

Sen's story is similar to many across the world. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Approximately 70 percent of women with ovarian cancer have extensive disease at the time of diagnoses.

Sen created Ovarcome in her mother's memory and it has inspired her to help others through their journey to overcome. Their mission is to raise global awareness, fund research in search of cures and provide financial support to the underprivileged.

Ovarcome will be hosting its annual gala on Saturday with a special guest.

The most decorated Olympic gymnast in American history, with seven Olympic medals, Shannon Miller is also an ovarian cancer survivor. She is being presented with the 2017 Ovarcome Excellence Award.

Miller is the only American to rank among the top 10 all-time gymnasts and is the only female athlete to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame - twice.

In 2011, Miller was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. She had the baseball-sized tumor removed successfully and followed up with an aggressive chemotherapy regimen. Now cancer-free, Shannon continues to be a strong advocate for awareness and early detection.

"I know I was very lucky my doctors caught my cancer early. But I don't want other women to count on luck. It's important to learn the signs. I encourage every woman to learn more about ovarian cancer and be aware of symptoms, as early detection is key to longer survival. Together, we can Ovarcome," Miller said.

"As a survivor, Shannon's personal connection and passion for ovarian cancer makes her the perfect choice for Ovarcome's Excellence Award," Sen said.

For more information about the 2017 Ovar the Moon: License to Teal Gala or to learn more about Ovarcome, visit ovarcome.org.

Report a typo to the ABC13 staff

Related Topics:
healthcancerovarian cancernonprofitHouston
(Copyright ©2018 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.)