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For Mother's Day: A Daughter's Quest to End Ovarian Cancer


May 6, 2011 - DENVER, CO

As Mother's Day approaches, Guadalupe (Pep) Torres, executive director of the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA), is reminded once again of the reason she joined the fight against ovarian cancer, a sly, deadly disease that often avoids diagnosis until it reaches an advanced stage.

Torres' mother, Connie, succumbed to the disease in 1986. "It is so hard to watch your mother suffer. She's at the essence of why I work with COCA," Torres says. "At the time, we had no clue to what Ovarian Cancer was and, unfortunately, many families today are in that same position."

Ovarian Cancer kills 220 Colorado women annually -- that's one death every 36 hours. According to 2007 data from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, Colorado is among the 12 states with the highest incidence of cancer. According to COCA, 81 percent of Ovarian Cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, and only 30 percent of women who receive a late diagnosis will live five years or more.

"Not much progress has been made regarding screening and treatment since my mother died 25 years ago," Torres says, "and we have to constantly correct common misconceptions. No, Ovarian Cancer does not just strike older women; women in their twenties and thirties can and do develop ovarian cancer every day. And no, a Pap test does not detect ovarian cancer. There is no specific screening tool for ovarian cancer. Recognizing and acting on early warning signs is what saves lives."

Early detection is the key to survival, and COCA will use Jodi's Race for Awareness, a 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Family Walk in City Park on Sat., June 4, to raise awareness of Ovarian Cancer's subtle but persistent warning signs.

Created by Colorado native Jodi Brammeier and first held in June 2010, Race for Awareness is both a celebration of life and a time to honor and remember those women lost to the disease. Brammeier was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2008 and died of the disease in 2010. She was convinced that she would have discovered the cancer earlier if she had been more aware of the signs and symptoms, and it was her goal to help other women improve their odds against the disease.

Registration for the 2011 Jodi's Race for Awareness currently is underway online at www.colo-ovariancancer.org.

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