Raising Ovarian Cancer Awareness
More than 22,000 women receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis each year. This form of cancer is the eighth most common cancer in women, as each woman has a one in 75 chance of getting the diagnosis at some point in her life.
The risk increases as women age, with about 25 percent of all ovarian cancer cases being diagnosed between the ages of 55 and 64.
It could be you, your mother, your wife, daughter, or friend who gets ovarian cancer — regardless, it leaves a negative impression on many people. Yet even with potentially millions of people affected by ovarian cancer, there is still a lack of awareness for the disease that is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related death in women.
One in 100 women will die from ovarian cancer, but these statistics surprise many. This surprise indicates the need for increased awareness and understanding of the disease.
Why Raise Awareness
When faced with the challenge of raising awareness, it will be simpler to do nothing. After all, raising awareness takes time and energy that are always in short supply during your busy life. Face it — there are many other tasks that need your attention in your day.
Overall, it’s easier to do nothing. Doing nothing is easy, but rarely is it best.
The best things in life command your efforts. They demand your focus and concentration. They command your time because they are worthwhile.
Your self-care needs are important, but raising awareness for ovarian cancer can be an altruistic activity that does so much for other people.
You should consider raising awareness for ovarian cancer for many reasons. Increased awareness can lead to many benefits, like:
- Improving the understanding of the condition in those friends and family members that are currently unaware.
- Improving the understanding of ovarian cancer in people who have yet to receive the diagnosis or those recently diagnosed, which can aid in their ability to process and accept the news.
- Improving the lives for people who currently have the diagnosis by reducing the stigma of the condition.
- Adding funding for research to work towards more effective assessments and treatments to reduce risk.
- Increasing the resources available to current cancer sufferers as well as ovarian cancer survivors.
Increased awareness has many positive elements that help people with and without ovarian cancer. More information, understanding, funding, and acceptance are wonderful aspects that should be increased no matter the condition.
How to Raise Awareness
So, you are convinced of the positives that come with raising awareness. Great, but now you are faced with the most challenging assignment: How do you raise awareness?
This is an important question because “raising awareness” tends to be an abstract idea. Although raising awareness sounds like a wonderful idea, putting this into practice can be complicated.
When people are unsure of how to raise awareness, they often do nothing to avoid doing the wrong thing. There is good news, though — there is no wrong way to raise awareness. Whatever your method, whatever your audience, raising awareness is always a desirable act.
Start With a Plan
When you are beginning a new challenge, you need a plan. Without a plan, you will lack a goal and a direction.
You will have no way to track your progress and no idea if you are successful or not. With raising awareness, think what type of awareness you are aiming for.
Do you want to reach large audiences or small? Do you want to affect people with ovarian cancer on an intimate level, or do you want to create sweeping, systemic change? Your plan may include:
- Volunteering at the local hospital
- Visiting loved ones with the condition
- Organizing fundraisers
- Researching and providing education to people one-on-one or in a professional context
- Advocating to government bodies on behalf of people with the condition
- Sharing your person experiences with ovarian cancer
Act the Part
With your goal in place, begin to follow through with your plan. Something like organizing a fundraiser can seem like an overwhelmingly large undertaking until you break it down into small, more tangible steps.
Making a few phone calls and speaking with people who have accomplished similar goals is a great way to begin your process. Starting something new is usually a bit awkward, but with time and patience, you will feel comfortable and fulfilled.
Observe Your Comfort
Raising awareness for ovarian cancer can be a highly emotional process, especially if you have been personally affected by the condition. This is a good time to note the impact your awareness-raising is having on your wellbeing.
You may decide to soldier on while adding healthy coping skills or modify your advocacy to decrease the negativity.
Assess Your Accomplishment
After you have spent some time working to achieve your awareness goals, take the time to step back and evaluate your accomplishments to this point. Is your mission already accomplished, or do you have some work left to do?
Be sure to be objective and nonjudgmental during your assessment. Starting something as new and important as raising awareness will not be easy. Remind yourself of the importance of your work to remain motivated.
Revise and Expand
Based on your assessment of the previous step, you can revise your plan as needed. If you have accomplished your goals easier than expected, find other ways to push yourself to new levels to raise more awareness.
If your attempts have been mostly unsuccessful, change your approach. Maybe you are better suited for another form of advocacy than you thought.
Consider your attempts at increasing awareness as an experiment. Accept that you may need several failed trials before you find something that is comfortable and effective.
Raising awareness for any condition is a complicated and emotional journey. It is extremely valuable, though. The good accomplished by ovarian cancer advocacy cannot be overstated.
Work to see the benefits of raising awareness for yourself and others before shifting towards discovering the approach best suited for your comfort and skills. Whether you reach one or many, your awareness is making a difference.