There is an abundance of support and information available if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Numerous non-profit organizations and support groups at the local, national and international level are devoted to improving the lives of women who are living with this devastating disease. Below I’ve listed the most essential or relevant resources that I’m aware of for ovarian cancer patients and their families, whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-term survivor.
Calgary and Southern Alberta Resources
Alberta Cancer Foundation
The Alberta Cancer Foundation is the organization responsible for supporting research, prevention and patient care for all the province’s cancer centres. These include the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. Smaller facilities are the Grande Prairie Cancer Centre, Central Alberta Cancer Centre (Red Deer), Margery E. Yuill Cancer Center (Medicine Hat) and Jack Ady Cancer Centre (Lethbridge) as well as 11 community cancer centres. The Alberta Cancer Foundation is the largest single funder of research in Alberta and invests more than an average $15 million a year to support world-class cancer researchers.
Wellspring devotes itself exclusively to the unique non-medical needs that cancer presents. At Wellspring Calgary and area residents with cancer, their families and friends can exchange information, develop a support system and create a sense of hope, Wellspring charges no fees. Its programs are available free to anyone living with any type of cancer at any stage. Programs include individual and group classes, coping skills, expressive therapies, energy work, educational workshops and a discussion series. A lending resource library provides a range of information on the social, emotional and psychological aspects of cancer.
Sunflower Ovarian Cancer Group
This is a group for women living with ovarian cancer and their supporters. The group meets every Thursday afternoon at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and a professional psychologist leads discussions. New members can register or obtain more information by calling 403-355-3207.
The Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society was officially formed in 1938, but the seeds for the Society were planted back in 1929 when the Saskatchewan Medical Association formed the country’s first cancer committee. The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Canada
Ovarian Cancer Canada is the only registered Canadian charity solely dedicated to overcoming ovarian cancer. There are 17,000 women living with ovarian cancer in Canada. It is estimated that this year in Canada, 2,600 women will be newly diagnosed with the disease. Ovarian cancer is the 5th most common cancer for women and is the most fatal women’s cancer.
Ovarian cancer is not as common as some other forms of the disease, it affects one in every 69 Canadian women. Together with the vast geography of our country, it can be years before a woman with this type of cancer comes face to face with someone who truly understands where she is coming from. This leads to a deep sense of isolation. OVdialogue is an online community where women with ovarian cancer can connect with one another for advice and encouragement.
American and International Organizations
The American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. For 100 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has worked relentlessly to save lives. Together with millions of their supporters worldwide, they help people stay well, help people get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer.
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
The mission of the NOCC is to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer. The Coalition is committed to improving the survival rate and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. More than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and approximately 15,000 women die annually from the disease. If diagnosed and treated early, when the cancer is confined to the ovary, the five-year survival rate is over 90 percent. Through national programs and local Chapter initiatives, the NOCC’s goal is to make more people aware of the early symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance
In 1997, the leaders of five disparate ovarian cancer organizations met for the first time. These meetings inspired the leaders to form the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, an organization that would advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer. In January, 2016, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance and OCNA combined all of their resources into one full-spectrum organization in their fight against ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Australia
Ovarian Cancer Australia was founded by people directly affected by ovarian cancer who wanted to raise awareness of the disease and support those who had been affected. Ovarian Cancer Australia was incorporated in July 2001. It was known as OvCa Australia, the National Ovarian Cancer Network, until changing its name to Ovarian Cancer Australia in 2008.
Ovarian Cancer Action (UK)
Ovarian Cancer Action strives to stop women dying from ovarian cancer by funding world-class scientific research leading to innovative treatment and progressive solutions. Ovarian cancer is currently the UK’s most deadly gynaceological disease, with over 7,000 cases diagnosed every year.