Turning Blue Jersey into Teal Jersey

A guest post by one of our interns and Moravian student Catherine Makoski. Tomorrow the Assembly Women and Children Committee will hear A2161 which establishes September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in New Jersey

Democrats Senator Turner, Assemblyman Benson, and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle-along with the support of many colleagues-sponsored a bill to establish a statewide ovarian cancer public awareness campaign which was signed into law this January. As this is the first September since then, it is especially important to observe what is nationally recognized as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

This month, towns all over New Jersey have been “turning teal” in a campaign to educate the masses about the signs and symptoms of this too often deadly disease. Assemblyman Benson, his staff and volunteers have helped with this effort in towns in the 14th District, tying teal ribbons in support of survivors and handing out symptom cards and informational pamphlets to local businesses and constituents to spread awareness.

Ovarian cancer awareness campaigns are of particular impact to citizens of New Jersey, where from 1993 to 1997-according to a study referenced within the new piece of legislation-the rate of mortality from ovarian cancer was noticeably higher than the national average.

Ten years after that study ended, the Turn the Towns Teal organization was founded in Chatham, New Jersey by Gail MacNeil. Today the campaign has spread across more than 150 towns in twenty-eight states, teaching thousands of people about ovarian cancer.

Women who are older, infertile, or have a family history of breast,

ovarian, or colon cancer may have an increased risk for ovarian cancer. Symptoms include abdominal pain, indigestion, frequent urination, unexplained changes in weight, unusual feeling of fullness, and back pain. Turn the Towns Teal touts the slogan: “The earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis!” and encourages women to have regular pelvic examinations in order to help decrease their overall risk of dying from ovarian cancer.

When caught early, the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is

95%, but in instances when this so-called “Silent Disease” goes

unnoticed until its later stages, that rate drops to 30%. As there is no early detection test for ovarian disease, being well-informed about its risk factors and symptoms can be a woman’s best defense.

Turn the Town Teal, as well as other New Jersey-based nonprofit

organizations like the Teal Tea Foundation and the Teal Wings of Hope Foundation, work year-round to help raise ovarian cancer awareness and to support research efforts focused on early detection, treatments, and a cure for ovarian cancer. To learn more about these organizations, visit http://www.tealtea.com or http://www.tealwingsofhopefoun… . If you would like information on how to turn your town teal, visit http://www.turnthetownsteal.or… on the web.

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