Thanks for visiting the website of:
Mailing address:
PO Box 86
Jackson, SC 29831
 Abigail Ruth Mills

February 23, 1976 - February 14, 2007

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer: October 26, 2006

 Photo taken November 14, 2006


 The Gail Mills Story

JACKSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - Sitting in my home office writing this, I look around the room that was once Gail's nursery... wonderful memories of bringing this precious little bundle home from the hospital ... the white wicker bassinette sitting just behind where my chair is now.  Fast forward with me the pre-school years of being a stay at home mom, dancing across the kitchen floor with Gail standing on my socked feet, piano lessons, tricycles, lemonade stands, bicycles, Brownie scouts, cheerleading, band practice, ball games, children - then teenagers hanging out at our house. Thirty years of holidays, vacations, laughter, a few tears.  A special mother/daughter relationship - a bond like no other...  unconditional love.


Gail graduated from Silver Bluff High School with honors in 1994 and was attending USC in Columbia when she was diagnosed with ovarian cysts. The cysts were surgically removed and everything seemed perfectly normal for years.  Gail continued attending college, transferring to USC-Aiken before graduating in 1999 (she jokingly said she was on the five-year plan).  Gail worked at Publix in Aiken during college and her Target career began with the opening of the new store in Aiken shortly after graduation. "Abi" as she was called by her Target team, later made career moves to Charleston, Summerville, then Florence, SC.


While some women may have changed doctors  for convenience after they moved, Gail trusted her doctor in Augusta and continued seeing her for yearly examinations.  In 2005, when Gail was  29 years old, she wasn't feeling well and thought she had ovarian cysts again. At her next appointment Gail asked the doctor for a sonogram and was told that the pain she was having was "probably scar tissue" from her earlier surgery and a sonogram was "not necessary."  Gail and I discussed this at length before she drove back to Florence. I wanted her to make an appointment with her internist for a second opinion, but Gail had been seeing her gynocologist for many years and trusted the doctor's diagnosis of "probably scar tissue." Gail told me, "but mom, she's the doctor" ... and with that confidence she returned to Florence.


The pain and discomfort did not go away.  Gail went to a chiropractor near Florence for back pain - and had spa massages, too. Her paternal grandmother had recently been moved to an assisted living facility near Aiken and Gail desperately wanted to be close by to visit - so in the summer of 2006, Gail transferred from Target in Florence to the Aiken Target even though it meant stepping down from an executive position.  She was finally nearby - close to family and friends and working five days a week and in retail THAT is practically unheard of.  Everything was wonderful... and we were looking forward to the holidays already.  No more rushed traveling to spend holidays or days off together.  Gail settled in to the new job, enjoyed being within minutes of nieces and nephews, church, friends and family.  She joined Curves - and was named their 'biggest loser' of inches and pounds her first month. Gail at times seemed tired, but she attributed that to the new job - at least that's what she told me.  She went to a prompt care medical facility with back and body aches the week before her upcoming gyn appointment. A friend and Target team member later told me that Gail was having extreme pain at work the weeks leading up to the appointment. And I was unaware of the over the counter medication Gail was taking for upset stomach, etc. 


In October 2006, four months after Gail moved back to Aiken, at what was scheduled as a routine annual physical, a “mass” was found. Within a week, Gail had major surgery - and the mass was soon diagnosed as small cell ovarian cancer, stage IIIc.  Rounds of chemo quickly followed and I was thankful that, even though Gail kept her apartment in Aiken, she wanted to stay with me during this time. Gail was able to focus solely on following doctor's orders and family members made sure she had what she wanted or needed.  Her faith remained strong and she knew she'd "be ok" regardless of the outcome. Gail asked me one day, "What if the chemo doesn't work?"  We discussed not being able to imagine what life would be like without the other one here... how difficult it would be... and that regardless of which of us went first, we'd save a place for the other one in Heaven.  That may not have been the perfect answer - not that there is one - but I never expected the two of us to have a conversation like that. The bottom line was we knew that regardless of the outcome of this battle with cancer, we'd see each other again.


On February 14, 2007 -- less than four months after her annual checkup -- Gail, my only child, became one of the estimated 15,250 women who lost their battle with ovarian cancer in 2007.   I had a choice - I could grieve myself to death or I could make something positive out of this horrible experience.  I did what Gail would've done if the roles were reversed... I chose to make a difference in ovarian cancer awareness.


Two months after Gail passed, a Relay For Life team was formed by family, friends and co-workers in Gail’s memory. The Relay theme that first year was "Night of A Thousand Stars" so we named the team after Gail's favorite television show, Grey's Anatomy -- wearing teal scrubs, tweaking the logo a bit and focusing entirely on ovarian cancer awareness.  Our team, Gail's Anatomy, celebrates the cancer fighting warriors; we remember those that have passed; and we fight back by telling others about this disease.  Through 2014, our Relay team has raised more than $22,000 for the American Cancer Society. Even though we continue to participate in the Relay For Life each year, we quickly learned that in order to really make a difference, we had to do more.  Our initial plan to participate in a one time, one night Relay For Life event grew overnight to a year-round passion to educate others.  Each year Gail's Anatomy strives to do more throughout the year to increase the visibility of teal and to educate women of all ages about ovarian cancer signs and symptoms and the importance of early detection.  We are successful in doing that because of the generous support of friends, family, schools, colleges, physician's groups, local businesses, local and state government - and the many new friends we have met at our events or who have contacted us after learning about our mission.


Gail did everything right. She had gynecologic exams every year since she was 18 years old. She even went to the same doctor.  Gail had none of the risk factors; there was no known family history of ovarian or breast cancer, but this horrible disease introduced itself to our family. Gail discovered after her diagnosis that she had all the symptoms of ovarian cancer except one. We both thought that a yearly physical and pap test would detect any potential female problems.  We can't change the past but we can certainly make a difference now by taking steps to educate others.   Don't let this happen to you. Pay attention to your body - you know yourself better than any one or any doctor. NEVER take "it's probably" as a diagnosis of anything.


If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms for more than two weeks, follow the recommendation of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and see your physician immediately. Insist on a CA-125 blood test and a transvaginal sonogram. Early detection saves lives.  Together we can make a difference in the fight against ovarian cancer. Let's begin right now with you.


Thank you for reading Gail's story. 

Gail's mom, Debbie




Go to the subpage tab "Activities" at the bottom of this page to learn more about what is being done to promote ovarian cancer awareness. 

Ovarian Cancer....

Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer may cause several signs and symptoms. Women are more likely to have symptoms if the disease has spread beyond the ovaries, but even early stage ovarian cancer can cause them. The most common symptoms include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms such as urgency (always feeling like you have to go) or frequency (having to go often)

These symptoms are also commonly caused by benign (non-cancerous) diseases and by cancers of other organs. When they are caused by ovarian cancer, they tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal − for example, they occur more often or are more severe. If a woman has these symptoms almost daily for more than a few weeks, she should see her doctor, preferably a gynecologist.

Others symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual changes
  • Abdominal swelling with weight loss

However, these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions, and most of them occur just about as often in women who don’t have ovarian cancer.

Source: American Cancer Society

Symptom Diary developed in the United Kingdom by Ovarian Cancer Action

This Symptom Diary developed in the United Kingdom by Ovarian Cancer Action is designed to help you communicate clearly with your doctor, (preferably a gynecologist) about symptoms that are persistent (for more than a month) and may be indicative of ovarian cancer. We encourage you to use the Diary as a tool to more accurately describe your symptoms to your doctor. The Diary should reveal persistency and severity.

Using this Diary will help your doctor understand your symptoms, and whether ovarian cancer should be a consideration in your diagnosis. Early detection may lead to a better chance of a positive outcome.

Remember that ovarian cancer is not common but neither is it rare. Women are advised to remember that the presence of symptoms may not indicate ovarian cancer, but the persistency of symptoms requires closer investigation.  Early diagnosis improves your chances for a positive outcome, so it is important that you tell your doctor if symptoms are persistent and different from what is normal for you.

What are the risk factors for ovarian cancer?

A risk factor is anything that changes your chance of getting a disease like cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. For example, unprotected exposure to strong sunlight is a risk factor for skin cancer. Smoking is a risk factor for a number of cancers.

But risk factors don't tell us everything. Having a risk factor, or even several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. And many people who get the disease may not have had any known risk factors. Even if a person with ovarian cancer has a risk factor, it is very hard to know how much that risk factor may have contributed to the cancer. Researchers have discovered several specific factors that change a woman's likelihood of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. These risk factors don’t apply to other less common types of ovarian cancer like germ cell tumors and stromal tumors.


The risk of developing ovarian cancer gets higher with age. Ovarian cancer is rare in women younger than 40. Most ovarian cancers develop after menopause. Half of all ovarian cancers are found in women 63 years of age or older.


Various studies have looked at the relationship of obesity and ovarian cancer. Overall, it seems that obese women (those with a body mass index of at least 30) have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Reproductive history

Women who have been pregnant and carried it to term have a lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have not. The risk goes down with each full-term pregnancy. Breastfeeding may lower the risk even further.

Birth control

Women who have used oral contraceptives (also known as birth control pills or the pill) have a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The lower risk is seen after only 3 to 6 months of using the pill, and the risk is lower the longer the pills are used. This lower risk continues for many years after the pill is stopped.

A recent study found that the women who used depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA or Depo-Provera CI®), an injectable hormonal contraceptive had a lower risk of ovarian cancer. The risk was even lower if the women had used it for 3 or more years.

Gynecologic surgery

Tubal ligation (having your tubes tied) may reduce the chance of developing ovarian cancer by up to two-thirds. A hysterectomy (removing the uterus without removing the ovaries) also seems to reduce the risk of getting ovarian cancer by about one-third.

Fertility drugs

In some studies, researchers have found that using the fertility drug clomiphene citrate (Clomid®) for longer than one year may increase the risk for developing ovarian tumors. The risk seemed to be highest in women who did not get pregnant while on this drug. Fertility drugs seem to increase the risk of the type of ovarian tumors known as "low malignant potential" (described in the section, "What is ovarian cancer?"). If you are taking fertility drugs, you should discuss the potential risks with your doctor. However, women who are infertile may be at higher risk (compared to fertile women) even if they don’t use fertility drugs. This might be in part because they haven't given birth or used birth control pills (which are protective). More research to clarify these relationships is now underway.


Androgens are male hormones. Danazol, a drug that increases androgen levels, was linked to an increased risk of ovarian cancer in a small study. In a larger study, this link was not confirmed, but women who took androgens were found to have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. Further studies of the role of androgens in ovarian cancer are planned.

Estrogen therapy and hormone therapy

Some recent studies suggest women using estrogens after menopause have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The risk seems to be higher in women taking estrogen alone (without progesterone) for many years (at least 5 or 10). The increased risk is less certain for women taking both estrogen and progesterone.

Family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or colorectal cancer

Ovarian cancer can run in families. Your ovarian cancer risk is increased if your mother, sister, or daughter has (or has had) ovarian cancer. The risk also gets higher the more relatives you have with ovarian cancer. Increased risk for ovarian cancer does not have to come from your mother's side of the family -- it can also come from your father's side.

Up to 10% of ovarian cancers result from an inherited tendency to develop the disease. A family history of some other types of cancer caused by an inherited mutation (change) in certain genes can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. For example, mutations in the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 increase the risk of breast cancer -- so having a family member with breast cancer can increase your risk of ovarian cancer. Another set of genes increase the risk of colon cancer, so women who have colon cancer in their families may have a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer. Many cases of familial epithelial ovarian cancer are caused by inherited gene mutations that can be identified by genetic testing.

Women with ovarian cancers caused by some of these inherited gene mutations may have a better outcome than patients who don’t have any family history of ovarian cancer. (See the section on causes of ovarian cancer for information on these gene mutations.)

Genetic counseling, genetic testing, and strategies for preventing ovarian cancer in women with an increased familial risk are discussed in the prevention section of this document. See the “Additional resources for ovarian cancer” section for more information on these topics.

Personal history of breast cancer

If you have had breast cancer, you may also have an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. There are several reasons for this. Some of the reproductive risk factors for ovarian cancer may also affect breast cancer risk. The risk of ovarian cancer after breast cancer is highest in those women with a family history of breast cancer. A strong family history of breast cancer may be caused by an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These mutations can also cause ovarian cancer. (See the section, "Do we know what causes ovarian cancer?").

Talcum powder

It has been suggested that talcum powder applied directly to the genital area or on sanitary napkins may be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to the ovaries. Some, studies suggest a very slight increase in risk of ovarian cancer in women who used talc on the genital area. In the past, talcum powder was sometimes contaminated with asbestos, a known cancer-causing mineral. This might explain the association with ovarian cancer in some studies. Body and face powder products have been required by law for more than 20 years to be asbestos-free. However, proving the safety of these newer products will require follow-up studies of women who have used them for many years. There is no evidence at present linking cornstarch powders with any female cancers.


A study of women who followed a low-fat diet for at least 4 years showed a lower risk of ovarian cancer. Some studies have shown a reduced rate of ovarian cancer in women who ate a diet high in vegetables, but other studies disagree. The American Cancer Society recommends eating a variety of healthful foods, with an emphasis on plant sources. Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day, as well as several servings of whole grain foods from plant sources such as breads, cereals, grain products, rice, pasta, or beans. Limit the amount of red meat and processed meats you eat. Even though the effect of these dietary recommendations on ovarian cancer risk remains uncertain, following them can help prevent several other diseases, including some other types of cancer.


In some studies, both aspirin and acetaminophen have been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. However, the information isn’t consistent. Women who don’t already take these medicines regularly for other health conditions should not start doing so to try to prevent ovarian cancer. More research is needed on this issue.

Smoking and alcohol use

Smoking doesn’t increase the risk of ovarian cancer overall, but it is linked to an increased risk for the mucinous type.

Drinking alcohol is not linked to ovarian cancer risk.

Last Medical Review: 03/21/2013
Last Revised: 02/06/2014


Do we know what causes ovarian cancer?

We don’t yet know exactly what causes most ovarian cancers. As discussed in the previous section, we do know some factors that make a woman more likely to develop epithelial ovarian cancer. Much less is known about risk factors for germ cell and stromal tumors of the ovaries.

There are many theories about the causes of ovarian cancer. Some of them came from looking at the things that change the risk of ovarian cancer. For example, pregnancy and taking birth control pills both lower the risk of ovarian cancer. Since both of these things reduce the number of times the ovary releases an egg (ovulation), some researchers think that there may be some relationship between ovulation and the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Also, we know that tubal ligation and hysterectomy lower the risk of ovarian cancer. One theory to explain this is that some cancer-causing substances may enter the body through the vagina and pass through the uterus and fallopian tubes to reach the ovaries. This would explain how removing the uterus or blocking the fallopian tubes affects ovarian cancer risk. Another theory is that male hormones (androgens) can cause ovarian cancer.

Researchers have made great progress in understanding how certain mutations (changes) in DNA can cause normal cells to become cancerous. DNA is the chemical that carries the instructions for nearly everything our cells do. We usually look like our parents because they are the source of our DNA. However, DNA affects more than the way we look. Some genes (parts of our DNA) contain instructions for controlling when our cells grow and divide. Certain genes that promote cell division are called oncogenes. Others that slow down cell division, cause cells to die at the right time, or help repair DNA damage are called tumor suppressor genes. We know that DNA mutations (defects) that turn on oncogenes or turn off tumor suppressor genes can cause cancer.

Inherited genetic syndromes

Scientists have learned a lot about how certain genes you inherit from your parents can greatly increase your ovarian cancer risk. These include the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and several genes related to hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (see next section).

BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

Inherited mutations in these genes were first found in women with breast cancer, and they are also responsible for most inherited ovarian cancers. When these genes are normal, they act as tumor suppressors -- they help prevent cancer by making proteins that keep cells from growing abnormally. But if you have inherited a mutation (defect) of one of these genes from either parent, this cancer-preventing protein is less effective, and your chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer increase. Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 are about 10 times more common in those who are Ashkenazi Jewish than those in the general U.S. population.

The lifetime ovarian cancer risk for women with a BRCA1 mutation is estimated to be between 35% and 70%. This means that if 100 women had a BRCA1 mutation, between 35 and 70 of them would get ovarian cancer. For women with BRCA2 mutations the risk has been estimated to be between 10% and 30% by age 70. These mutations also increase the risks for primary peritoneal carcinoma and fallopian tube carcinoma.

In comparison, the ovarian cancer lifetime risk for the women in the general population is about 1.5%.

Cowden's disease

In this syndrome, people are primarily affected with thyroid problems, thyroid cancer, and breast cancer. Women also have an increased risk of ovarian cancer. It is caused by inherited mutations in the PTEN gene.

Hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer

Women with this syndrome have a very high risk of colon cancer and also have an increased risk of developing cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer) and ovarian cancer. Many different genes can cause this syndrome. They include MLH1, MLH3, MSH2, MSH6, TGFBR2, PMS1, and PMS2. An abnormal copy of any one of these genes reduces the body's ability to repair damage to its DNA. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer in women with hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer (HNPCC) is about 10%. This syndrome causes up to 1% of all ovarian epithelial cancers. An older name for HNPCC is Lynch syndrome.

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome

People with this rare genetic syndrome develop polyps in the stomach and intestine while they are teenagers. They also have a high risk of cancer, particularly cancers of the digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon). Women with this syndrome have an increased risk of ovarian cancer, including both epithelial ovarian cancer and a type of stromal tumor called sex cord tumor with annular tubules (SCTAT). This syndrome is caused by mutations in the gene STK11.

MUTYH-associated polyposis

People with this syndrome develop polyps in the colon and small intestine and have a high risk of colon cancer. They are also more likely to develop other cancers, including cancers of the ovary and bladder. This syndrome is caused by mutations in the gene MUTYH.

Acquired genetic changes

Most DNA mutations related to ovarian cancer are not inherited but instead occur during a woman's life. In some cancers, acquired mutations of oncogenes and/or tumor suppressor genes may result from radiation or cancer-causing chemicals, but there is no evidence for this in ovarian cancer. So far, studies haven’t been able to specifically link any single chemical in the environment or in our diets to mutations that cause ovarian cancer. The cause of most acquired mutations remains unknown.

Most ovarian cancers have several acquired gene mutations. Research has suggested that tests to identify acquired changes of certain genes in ovarian cancers, like the p53 tumor suppressor gene or the HER2 oncogene, may help predict a woman's prognosis. The role of these tests is still not certain, and more research is needed.

Last Medical Review: 03/21/2013
Last Revised: 02/06/2014


Can ovarian cancer be prevented?

Most women have one or more risk factors for ovarian cancer. But most of the common factors only slightly increase your risk, so they only partly explain the frequency of the disease. So far, what is known about risk factors has not translated into practical ways to prevent most cases of ovarian cancer.

There are several ways you can reduce your risk of developing epithelial ovarian cancer. Much less is known about ways to lower the risk of developing germ cell and stromal tumors of the ovaries. The remainder of this section refers to epithelial ovarian cancer only. It is important to realize that some of these strategies reduce the risk only slightly, while others decrease it much more. Some strategies are easily followed, and others require surgery. If you are concerned about your risk of ovarian cancer, you may want to discuss this information with your health care professionals. They can help you consider these ideas as they apply to your own situation.

Oral contraceptives

Using oral contraceptives (birth control pills) decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer, especially among women who use them for several years. Women who used oral contraceptives for 5 or more years have about a 50% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer compared with women who never used oral contraceptives. Still, birth control pills do have some serious risks and side effects. Women considering taking these drugs for any reason should first discuss the possible risks and benefits with their doctor.

Gynecologic surgery

Both tubal ligation and hysterectomy may reduce the chance of developing ovarian cancer, but experts agree that these operations should only be done for valid medical reasons -- not for their effect on ovarian cancer risk.

If you are going to have a hysterectomy for a valid medical reason and you have a strong family history of ovarian or breast cancer, you may want to consider having both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed (called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy) as part of that procedure.

Even if you don’t have an increased risk of ovarian cancer, some doctors recommend that the ovaries be removed with the uterus if a woman has already gone through menopause or is close to menopause. If you are older than 40 and you are going to have a hysterectomy, you should discuss having your ovaries removed with your doctor.

Prevention strategies for women with a family history of ovarian cancer, including cancer due to BRCA mutation

Genetic counseling can predict whether you are likely to have one of the gene mutations associated with an increased ovarian cancer risk. If your family history suggests that you might have one of these gene mutations, you might consider genetic testing.

Before having genetic tests, you should discuss their benefits and potential drawbacks with the counselor. Genetic testing can help determine if you or members of your family carry certain gene mutations that cause a high risk of ovarian cancer. Still, the results are not always clear cut, and a genetic counselor can help you sort out what the results mean to you.

For some women with a strong family history of ovarian cancer, knowing they do not have a mutation that increases their ovarian cancer risk can be a great relief for them and their children. Knowing that you do have such a mutation can be stressful, but many women find this information very helpful in making important decisions about certain prevention strategies for them and their children. More information about genetic testing can be found in our document, Genetic Testing: What You Need to Know.

Using oral contraceptives is one way that many women can reduce their risk of developing ovarian cancer. Oral contraceptives also seem to reduce the risk for women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. But birth control pills can increase breast cancer risk in women without these mutations. This increased risk continues for some time after these pills are stopped. Studies that have looked at this issue in women with BRCA mutations haven’t agreed about what effect birth control pills have on breast cancer risk. Some studies have shown an increased risk of breast cancer, while some have not. Research is continuing to find out more about the risks and benefits of oral contraceptives for women at high ovarian and breast cancer risk.

It isn’t clear if tubal ligation effectively reduces the risk of ovarian cancer in women who have BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. Studies that have looked at this issue haven’t agreed about this. Researchers do agree that removing both ovaries and fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy) protects women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations against ovarian (and fallopian tube) cancer.

Sometimes a woman has this surgery to reduce her risk of ovarian cancer before cancer is even suspected. If the ovaries are removed to prevent ovarian cancer, the surgery is called "risk-reducing" or "prophylactic." Generally, salpingo-oophorectomy is recommended only for very high-risk patients after they have finished having children. This operation lowers ovarian cancer risk a great deal but does not entirely eliminate it. That’s because some women who have a high risk of ovarian cancer already have a cancer at the time of surgery. These cancers can be so small that they are only found when the ovaries and fallopian tubes are looked at under the microscope (after they are removed). Also, women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations have an increased risk of primary peritoneal carcinoma (PPC). Although the risk is low, this cancer can still develop after the ovaries are removed.

The risk of fallopian tube cancer is also increased in women with mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. In fact, sometimes early fallopian tube cancers are found unexpectedly when the fallopian tubes are removed as a part of a risk-reducing surgery. That is why experts recommend that women at high risk of ovarian cancer who are having their ovaries removed should have their fallopian tubes completely removed as well (salpingo-oophorectomy).

Research has shown that premenopausal women who have BRCA gene mutations and have had their ovaries removed reduce their risk of breast cancer as well as their risk of ovarian cancer. The risk of ovarian cancer is reduced by 85% to 95%, and the risk of breast cancer cut by 50% to 60%.

Last Medical Review: 03/21/2013
Last Revised: 02/06/2014

What are the key statistics of ovarian cancer?

The American Cancer Society estimates for ovarian cancer in the United States for 2016 are:

· About 22,280 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

· About 14,240 women will die from ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer is the ninth most common cancer among women, excluding non-melanoma skin cancers. It ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in women. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 75. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 100. (These statistics don’t count low malignant potential ovarian tumors.)

This cancer mainly develops in older women. About half of the women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. It is more common in white women that African-American women.

Source: American Cancer Society

How can you support ovarian cancer awareness?
All donations support the Gail's Anatomy year-round awareness campaign!
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To order a shirt, mail check payable to Gail's Anatomy along with name, address, shirt style(s), size(s) and phone number (for use only if we have a question about your order) to:
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Order will be mailed within 2 weeks of receipt of payment.

Gray short-sleeve shirt (limited supply of long-sleeve t's available)
Front: Palmetto with teal ribbon and TEAL IS REAL
Back: "It's more than a ribbon, it's a mission. Ovarian Cancer Awareness"

"Cure Life"
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dark blue short-sleeve shirt with white palmetto and teal awareness ribbon
(ribbon is actually TEAL, not blue as shown in this picture)

"fight like a girl"
Brown short-sleeve tshirt with teal imprint on front and sleeve


Life changes so quickly....  



10/14/06:  Gail and her dad, Jimmy, getting ready to enjoy a Saturday afternoon in Athens cheering for the Georgia Bulldogs. Picture taken the weekend before Gail's checkup.

11/14/06:  Gail and her mom, Debbie, the day before her first chemo treatment (photo courtesy of Denise Jane Portrait Design).


Ovarian Cancer Awareness Postage Stamp

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