Today is World Ovarian Cancer Day, of significance to any woman born on earth. It’s not a disease women often think about—partly because it’s difficult to diagnose. But we should, as the outlook for women with ovarian cancer is grim: Only 45% of the 250,000 women diagnosed globally each year survive the disease.
Unlike with breast cancer, which affects around 1.7 million people worldwide annually and has a survivor rate of up to 89%, women with ovarian cancer are often diagnosed too late. An annual pap smear cannot detect it.
Cancer is considered an episodic disability under the expanded American with Disabilities Act of 2008, meaning that a woman, while she has cancer and is undergoing related treatment, is entitled to protections and accommodations in the workplace and beyond.
It’s worth noting that ovarian cancer is, at least in the beginning, an invisible disability. A woman can wake up in the morning, shower and put on her best face, with colleagues and acquaintances unaware that she may be living in a nightmare. Her necessary time off from work for doctors’ appointments and treatments will be kept confidential, should she choose this path.
Which brings me to my next point. We still need to raise awareness for this silent disease, which has been in the shadows for too long. On World Ovarian Cancer Day, charitable organizations are out in full force shining a light.
One company, Laura Mercier, is taking a beautiful, shop-for-a-cause approach. I woke up this morning and used the Laura Mercier Bonne Minne universal bronzer, cheek color and glow ($48) followed by a high-shine muted pink lip-gloss called Kiss of Hope ($25). These lovely products are packaged with hopeful messages that women will speak out about ovarian cancer.
All of the profits from the sale of these and other specially designed beauty products are directed to the Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Fund. The fund is directed to ovarian cancer research at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, nonprofit Cancer and Careers, and smaller nonprofits in the US, Canada, UK and France.
Visit the World Ovarian Cancer Day website to get more information about this disease and its symptoms. Your doctor can give you a complete pelvic exam, blood test (to test for genetic susceptibility) or an ultrasound.
Health and beauty is important, both inside and out. Laura Mercier takes on the ovarian cancer cause to teach us just that.