National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September Turns Rare Spotlight on Deadliest Gynecologic Cancer and Efforts to Help Improve Survival
“Wheel to Survive” six-hour indoor stationary cycling fundraisers to benefit women fighting ovarian cancer
LA JOLLA, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Not every woman has the resources that Angelina Jolie brought to bear in electing for a difficult surgery to reduce her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. While technical advancements have enabled amazing progress for certain individuals and in selected cancers, legions of women battling ovarian cancer are right for feeling left behind. Today 70% of women with ovarian cancer will die of their disease compared to less than 20% of breast cancer patients. Treatments for breast cancer patients are often chosen based on tests similar to the ones Jolie used to inform her care. In addition to breast cancer, genomic tumor tests are routinely used to determine which drugs are more likely to be effective for lung, colon and skin cancers. Unfortunately for most women with ovarian cancer, their cancer comes back and then treatments are given on a trial-and-error basis with no genomic tumor testing to try to prioritize treatments. Hillary Theakston, executive director of The Clearity Foundation, says this is unacceptable.
“Ovarian cancer patients have been treated almost the same way for the last 40 years using a trial-and-error approach, especially for the 75% of women who recur following standard-of-care treatment. Oncologists today know that tumors are unique, and the technology often exists to guide treatment decisions. It’s critical that we make it available to patients who need help personalizing their treatment. We don’t have to wait for a cure. We can help patients today,” says Ms. Theakston of The Clearity Foundation.
The Clearity Foundation was established five years ago after ovarian cancer survivor and cancer researcher Laura Shawver, Ph.D. found it difficult to obtain testing for her cancer. The Clearity Foundation advocates for personalized treatment approaches for women with ovarian cancer. Each year, more than 22,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with the disease, which is the most lethal gynecological cancer. Armed with tumor blueprints that identify the alterations in their tumor’s information pathways, patients and their oncologists can often match those tumor alterations with one or more drugs. The Clearity Foundation has developed a process for generating this personalized diagnostic information using commercially-available molecular profiling technologies and then analyzing the results using its database.
Jan Amato turned to Clearity when her ovarian cancer returned the third time. “Six months of chemotherapy didn’t shrink my tumors, and at that point my oncologist told me ‘I’ve got nothing for you,’” Amato recalls. “That’s when we turned to Clearity. My cancer was profiled and the results pointed my doctor to a drug that was approved for other types of cancers. After three months of treatment, there was no trace of my cancer. The Clearity Foundation saved my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
The Clearity Foundation is holding Wheel to Survive fundraisers, six-hour indoor stationary cycling events to raise money to provide tumor profiling to patients. Registration is open to men and women riders of all levels, from beginners to seasoned cyclists who ride the open road or spin bikes. Wheel to Survive events will take place on Sunday, October 27, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Sporting Club in San Diego, and on Sunday, November 3, 2013 from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Pacific Sports Resort Redwood Shores in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“The Wheel to Survive event is inspired by the will to survive that we see in the ovarian cancer patients that we help every day, not just the month of September,” continues Ms. Theakston. “We hope that anyone who has been affected by cancer will come out to support this exciting, family-friendly event. The survivors are why we ride, why we push, why we fight – and this event is a testament to them.”
The Wheel to Survive benefiting The Clearity Foundation is produced by Be the Difference Foundation, also a nonprofit. Be the Difference was formed by four ovarian cancer survivors who want to end the fight against ovarian cancer. The organization raises money to fund programs like Clearity’s that advocate for better treatment options, effective early screening, symptomatic and genetic predisposition awareness and a cure.
Additional event details and registration are available here:
SOURCE The Clearity Foundation