(WXYZ) — Hundreds gathered in downtown Ann Arbor to take part in the “Time to Teal” 5K charity run, which coincided with World Ovarian Cancer Day.
For participants and survivors, raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research is needed more than ever.
"When I was diagnosed, I was, I had a lot of fear about what that would mean because of all the unknowns," said Mary Wagner, an ovarian cancer survivor.
Wagner, 34, is an Ovarian cancer survivor. In 2021, Mary was diagnosed with stage 3, a disease she never thought was possible at her age.
"For a few years I had just some strange symptoms, l had sciatica, I had pelvic things going on, it took a while to figure out what was going on," Wagner said.
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. In fact, according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, every 23 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the country.
And since there is no early screening, Dr. J. Rebecca Liu says regular pelvic exams by your physician and genetic testing are the best way forward.
"The mean age of diagnosis is about 60-65, but if someone has a genetic predisposition to have an ovarian cancer diagnosis, for example, if they have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to have this, they will be diagnosed earlier in their 30s 40s," Liu said.
According to the American Cancer Society, the most common symptoms of Ovarian Cancer include:
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Trouble eating
- Frequent urination
While others may also experience:
- Upset stomach
- Back pain
"Only 15 percent of Ovarian cancer is diagnosed before stage three," said Jennifer Mccurdy, an ovarian cancer survivor.
Mccurdy was 36 when she headed to the OR for a cyst removal but instead was wheeled out with the news that she had ovarian cancer.
"It was life-altering, it took me a lot of time to process what was going on because it was so sudden," Mccurdy said.
But after seven years of remission, Jennifer is upbeat about life and is now on a mission to help others.
"The survivors that were diagnosed early, and any survivor to be able to get that word out and pass along that information that could help another woman not have to go through the battle that we had to go through," Mccurdy said.