Rally, Luncheon to Raise Awareness of Ovarian Cancer

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – A rally at 10 a.m. Sept. 9 on the steps of the state Capitol is designed to raise awareness of the signs of ovarian cancer and share information about advances in treatment. The rally is sponsored by the Arkansas Ovarian Cancer Coalition in conjunction with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and the New Outlook program at St. Vincent Health System.


Speakers at the rally will include Dr. Alexander “Sandy” Burnett, chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology in the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, on recognizing the early signs of ovarian cancer and recent research advancements.  


Susan Gibson, an ovarian cancer survivor from Fort Smith will share her experience with the disease, and Arkansas State Rep. Wilhelmina Lewellen of Little Rock will read a proclamation naming September Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in Arkansas.


Educational material will be available, and T-shirts will be on sale for $10 benefiting the coalition.


A luncheon sponsored by the coalition will follow the rally at noon at the Governor’s Mansion, 1800 Center St. Tickets are $15; ovarian cancer survivors may attend for free. To make a reservation, contact Alesa Garner at (800) 446-7341 by Sept. 3. For information, visit www.arkansasovariancancer.com.


Luncheon speakers will include Gov. Mike Beebe, whose mother experienced ovarian cancer, and Sandy Pope, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Departments of Geriatrics and Psychiatry in the UAMS College of Medicine and in the Department of Epidemiology in the UAMS College of Public Health. Pope also is founder of the Mindfulness Center for Healthy Living and will speak on stress management. Leah Elliott, chairwoman of the coalition and an ovarian cancer survivor, also will address the group.


According to the American Cancer Society, about 22,430 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. It ranks fifth as the cause for cancer death among women.


Symptoms of ovarian cancer include bloating, pelvic or stomach pain, feeling full quickly after eating, and frequent urination. Because its symptoms are often subtle and may be mistaken for other conditions, only about 20 percent of ovarian cancers are found in the early, most curable stages.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,538 students and 733 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,600 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $5 billion a year. Visit www.uams.edu.