VOICE - The Varadi Ovarian Initiative for Cancer Education
Founded in honor of the late Marilyn Varadi, PhD, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2004, VOICE joined forces with Mount Sinai to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer through education, research and advocacy. Through the efforts of Dr. Varadi and her companion Charles Rudy, VOICE has helped shine the spotlight on the need to improve women’s health care and save women’s lives.
VOICE works together with members of the medical and business communities, as well as other ovarian cancer organizations, to make legislators in Washington, DC aware of the importance of early detection and the need for increased and continued support from government agencies. Their combined efforts are raising awareness of the importance of preventative care and research into early detection. In addition, they hope to educate legislators – and the public – of the difficulties faced by women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and the need for support services for all survivors and their families.
About Ovarian Cancer
- Approximately 21,880 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year in the U.S. and 13,850 die from the disease.
- Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women and equals approximately the number of deaths from all other gynecologic malignancies combined.
- The majority of women are diagnosed when the disease has reached an advanced stage, however if detected early, the survival rate is more than 90%.
There is no way to know for sure if you will get ovarian cancer. Most women with ovarian cancer are not at high risk. However, several factors may increase your risk for ovarian cancer, including if you:
- Are over 40. Ovarian cancer generally strikes after age 40, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women age 60 and older.
- Have close family members, such as your mother, sister, aunt, or grandmother, on either your mother's or your father’s side, who have had ovarian cancer
- Have a genetic mutation such as BRCA1, BRCA2, or other mutations associated with an increased risk such as those seen with colon cancer syndromes
- Have had breast, uterine, or colorectal (colon) cancer
- Have an Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish background
- Have never given birth or have had trouble getting pregnant
- Have endometriosis, a condition in which tissue from the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the body
There is no known way to prevent ovarian cancer. However, lower rates of ovarian cancer have been detected in women who:
- Have used birth control pills for more than five years
- Have had both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed
- Have had multiple births
- Vague but persistent and unexplained gastrointestinal complaints such as gas, nausea and indigestion
- Pelvic or abdominal pain (the area below your stomach and between your hip bones)
- Feeling full quickly while eating
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Unexplained changes in bowel habits
- Frequency and/or urgency of urination
- Vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge from your vagina
Pay attention to your body, and know what is normal for you. If you have any of these symptoms, they persist for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you, Mount Sinai can help. To make an appointment with a Mount Sinai gynecologic oncologist, please contact us at 212-427-9898. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor. The earlier ovarian cancer is found and treated, the more likely treatment will be effective.