NATCHITOCHES – Turn Teal Natchitoches is creating awareness of national Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September by hosting its annual Teal Tea at Trinity Episcopal Church, 533 Second St., at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. The tea will take place in the Parish Hall and will feature tea, treats, nail painting and information about ovarian cancer. The Teal Tea is free and open to the public. Organizer Leah Lentz hopes to educate both women and men about ovarian cancer, the importance of knowing one’s family medical history and the effectiveness of early detection.
“Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system,” said Lentz, a counselor at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Lentz lost her mother, Sue Gregory Coleman, to ovarian cancer and initiated Turn Teal Natchitoches in her memory.
Northwestern State University is also getting involved with Demons Turn Teal, a series of events to support Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Campus Living Villages and NSU’s Office of First Year Experience are presenting events to take place in the Student Union and at campus residence facilities with snacks and ovarian cancer information as part of Demon Days 2017.
Drivers in Natchitoches may have noticed the teal ribbons on the Church Street Bridge that honor ovarian cancer patients, survivors and those who lost their battle to the disease. Ribbons have also been placed in the LSMSA courtyard, Lentz said.
According to the National Foundation for Cancer Research, an estimated 22,400 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017, with more than 14,080 deaths expected to result from the diagnosis. While all women are at risk of ovarian cancer, the overall lifetime risk of developing the disease is one in 75. The estimated five-year survival rate for patients whose ovarian cancer is detected early is about 93 percent. However, only 15 percent of women are diagnosed at the early stages. Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose because initial symptoms are similar to gastrointestinal illness and indigestion.
“We have received outstanding community support since we started Turn Teal Natchitoches six years ago,” Lentz said. “There is currently no screening test for ovarian cancer, which is why it is often discovered in later stages. Our goal is to create awareness and increase research funding for early detection tests that could save more lives.”
For more information on Turn Teal Natchitoches, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/turntealnatchitoches or email Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.