SMETHPORT — September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in McKean County according to a proclamation the commissioners adopted Tuesday at their regularly scheduled meeting.
Dr. George and Susan Evans were guests for the proclamation signing.
According to the resolution, every woman, regardless of age, heritage, medical history or geographic boundary, is at risk for ovarian cancer, the eighth most common cancer among women and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among females.
The American Cancer Society estimates that out of the 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer in the United States in 2019, 14,000 will be fatal, so it is prudent to diagnose it at the earliest stage since its symptoms are difficult to detect. Nine of every ten women treated for this cancer live longer than five years after diagnosis.
Susan Evans, an ovarian cancer survivor and a resident of McKean County and a Pittsburgh native, has championed awareness of this deadly disease to more than 150 civic groups and has chronicled her journey in her book, “Don’t Write the Obituary Yet.” All proceeds from the book sales and donations, approximately $160,000 to date, are donated to the Evans-Krivak Gynecological Cancer Research and Education Fund, managed by The Pittsburgh Foundation.
Evans has proposed that every September be proclaimed “Ovarian Cancer Month” throughout the county in conjunction with the Senate and House of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in order to underscore awareness and education as important factors in the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.
On Dec. 8, 2015, Evans was recognized on the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate for her ovarian cancer awareness campaign, introduced by Sen. Joe Scarnati, president pro-tempore, As a result, her proposal to designate September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month” throughout the Commonwealth was approved on bi-partisan resolutions in the Senate and State House of Representatives in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In her comments after the commissioners adopted this resolution, Evans commented, “This cancer is very scary; it’s the silent killer. It’s a cancer that comes back.”
Ever since her ovarian cancer surgery in June 2012 and eventual remission, Evans has been carrying out a very personal campaign in bringing about awareness of this deadly disease and to raise funds for much needed research and education.
In addition to Pennsylvania audiences, Evans’ message has spread to New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Evans has been widely recognized her efforts in promoting public awareness about ovarian cancer and raising funds for research. The Bradford Era named Evans as “Newsmaker of the Year for 2018.” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto proclaimed Sept. 12, 2017, as “Susan Evans Day” for her campaign. Bradford Mayor Tom Riel has proclaimed September as “Ovarian Cancer Month” in perpetuity.