A battle against cancer includes effort to raise awareness
On this World Cancer Day, there is an effort to highlight cancers where research is underfunded, and the cancer itself is often misdiagnosed. These kinds of cancers often claim the lives of women.

Teri Woodhull closed her business in Plymouth when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She's now fighting the disease and spreading awareness.

"You're dealt the cards you're given and you do the best you can with them," Woodhull said.

Although Woodhull just had chemotherapy on Tuesday, she smiled as she sported her teal colors, the symbol for ovarian cancer.

"I have a genetic mutation, a BRCA mutation (human genes that produce tumor suppressor proteins) that makes me have a high likelihood of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer, " Woodhull said.

For a couple of years Teri had no evidence of the disease, but then it returned this fall.

"Our goal is not to cure it, it's not likely to be curable, so the goal is simply to keep the disease at bay as long as we can and have the best quality of life as possible," she said.

No one would blame Woodhull if she just took time off to take care of herself, but that's not what she's doing, instead she's volunteering at two cancer organizations.

"I'm hoping that my voice can be a voice that helps other women potentially avoid, having the journey that I'm having," Woodhull said.

Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3 percent of cancers among women, but causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

There is no test for ovarian cancer, but some symptoms include: abdominal bloating or swelling, feeling full when eating,
weight loss, discomfort in the pelvis area, changes in bowel habits, such as constipation and a frequent need to urinate.

"Let's just get the conversation started, let's start talking about the symptoms, let's be aware of our bodies," said Becky Lechner with the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance."Our mission is to fund ovarian cancer research, provide support and programming for women impacted by the disease."

To spread awareness, this evening, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., theaters all across the country, including the Regal Cinemas in Brooklyn Center are showing a film called N.E.D. or No Evidence of Disease. The goal is to enlighten the public.

In the movie, six doctors tell stories about their patients while raising awareness about gynecological cancers. It's the same message Woodhull has been spreading for the past 5 years.

More than anything for me it's about just trying to live a quality of life that is enjoyable, be able to be with my friends and family, and raise as much awareness as I can," Woodhull said.

Sonya Goins reporting

February 4, 2015


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