All throughout St. Ignace during the month of September lampposts are decorated with a bright teal ribbon tied around the middle.
This teal ribbon represents the Tie Michigan Teal campaign and recognizes September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. If passersby look closely enough, they will see the ribbons detail the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Michigan Ovarian Cancer Association, or MIOCA, runs the Tie Michigan Teal campaign each September and the campaign is “in an effort to bring awareness to disease because there is no early detection test” for ovarian cancer, said Diann Glaza-Helbling, the program specialist and event coordinator. The organization strives to save women’s lives by promoting early detection and improved treatment outcomes while also raising awareness and providing resources to support survivors and their families, advocate both locally and federally, educate Michigan communities, and fund ovarian cancer research.
Those who experience the symptoms of ovarian cancer, which include bloating, abdominal or pelvic pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary issues, whether urgency or frequently, more than 12 times per month should go to their doctor as soon as possible.
“If folks aren’t feeling well and their symptoms align [with those of ovarian cancer], it’s so important that they go to the doctor as soon as possible and push to have them test,” Ms. Glaza-Helbling said.
Often, doctors will take patients who bring up these symptoms down the path of gastrology issues or menopause, she added. MIOCA helps to advocate for patients and stresses the importance of advocating for oneself.
“We have folks who get diagnosed and it’s taken years because the doctor dismisses [a patient’s] symptoms for other diagnoses. That’s why we tell people to really advocate for themselves,” Ms. Glaza-Helbling said.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most lethal types of gynecological cancers and in fact, according to 2022 data from the American Cancer Society, about 19,880 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year and about 12,810 women will die from ovarian cancer this year.
Through this campaign, MIOCA hopes to engage communities in helping to spread the word on ovarian cancer signs and symptoms to local residents.
“We really were excited St. Ignace approved the Tie Michigan Teal campaign,” Ms. Glaza-Helbling said. “We want residents of the U.P. to be aware of our organization and bring awareness to ovarian cancer to save lives in the process.”
The organization tied ribbons throughout St. Ignace Friday, September 2.
MIOCA also provides resources for those diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families, including support groups throughout the state, survivor support tote bags for patients, educational materials, and events. The group is also currently searching for a northern Michigan awareness ambassador to share information about MIOCA with local groups and organizations, promote greater awareness of ovarian cancer through distribution of resources, information, and creating connections throughout the region, and other tasks to help get the word out.
Those who are interested can also contact the organization to receive teal ribbons to tie at their home or business.
To donate to the organization, visit mioca.org or for more information, email email@example.com.
Leave a Reply