September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the United States.

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that first forms in the ovaries and may spread. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 21,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2020. Nearly 14,000 women will die from the disease in the same year.

Like all cancers, the ripple effects of ovarian cancer extend beyond the people who receive the diagnosis. It affects their family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

By coming together, we can raise awareness, research funding, and provide support for people living with ovarian cancer and their loved ones. That’s why it’s so important to get involved in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Pin on a teal ribbon, learn about local organizations in your area, and get ready to take action. Keep in mind, you can show your support online in many of the same ways you show in-person support. There are a variety of digital options for getting involved without leaving home.

Here are five important ways to join the fight against ovarian cancer.

Many scientists across the country are developing new treatments and techniques for improving survival rates in people with ovarian cancer.

Patient advocates and nonprofit organizations are also working to spread knowledge and improve support for people coping with this disease.

To help fuel their efforts, consider donating funds to an ovarian cancer research foundation, nonprofit organization, or another community initiative.

It’s easy to make your donation online. For example, you may be interested in making a one-time or monthly donation to:

Some companies match employee donations to nonprofit organizations. Consider asking your employer if they will match any funds that you donate.

Making a direct donation isn’t the only way that you can help raise funds for ovarian cancer research and other initiatives.

You may also host or join a fundraising event or campaign.

For example:

  • register for a NOCC walk or run in your community
  • sign up for an OCRA Ovarian Cycle ride or fitness event
  • host your own fundraiser among friends, family, or co-workers
  • ask loved ones to make a donation to an ovarian cancer organization in lieu of a personal gift for an upcoming birthday or another occasion

You can also contact a local cancer care center or patient organization to learn if they have any fundraisers scheduled in your community.

When in-person fundraising isn’t an option, remember that many digital platforms make it easy to organize an online fundraiser.

If you have time to spare, consider volunteering for an ovarian cancer organization or initiative in your community. Many of them rely on volunteers to help implement their programs and services.

Depending on the organization’s needs and your skill set, interests, and availability, you may be able to help:

  • run patient support programs
  • coordinate a fundraiser or other special event
  • update their social media, website, or other outreach materials
  • provide public relations, marketing, financial, or legal consultation
  • conduct data entry, accounting, or other administrative activities

If you’re a survivor of ovarian cancer, they may also invite you to act as a patient spokesperson, peer counselor, or support group leader.

To help raise awareness of ovarian cancer among people in your social networks, consider:

  • wearing a teal ribbon, which symbolizes ovarian cancer support
  • adding an ovarian cancer-themed frame to your social media profile photos
  • sharing links to ovarian cancer-related stories, fundraising campaigns, and other pages through email and social media platforms
  • talking to friends, family members, co-workers, and others about your own experiences with ovarian cancer

These gestures can help generate attention and conversations around the issue of ovarian cancer.

When ovarian cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, it tends to be highly treatable. But in roughly 80 percent of cases, the disease isn’t detected until it’s already advanced to a less treatable stage.

There are currently no reliable screening tests for ovarian cancer, but getting regular pelvic exams and health checkups may help your doctor detect ovarian cancer early.

If you’re a woman or trans man with ovaries, consider when you last had a pelvic exam. If you’re overdue for an exam or checkup, start planning for one. Look for future dates that work for you, and call your healthcare provider’s office to schedule a time.

You should also let your doctor know if you develop potential signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer. For example, common symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • unusual feelings of fullness
  • frequent or urgent urination that occurs more than 12 times per month

Don’t delay discussing these types of symptoms with a healthcare provider. If you’re not able to go to a clinic in person, consider a virtual visit. Many health clinics have started to offer digital options for a checkup, and they can refer you for additional testing if needed.

From donating to volunteering to starting important conversations, there are many ways to get involved in Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. You can find ways to show your support online, too.

Consider taking some time this month to learn about this disease, and raise awareness among friends and family.

Looking after your own health is also important. If you’re overdue for a pelvic exam or health checkup, consider contacting your healthcare provider about finding a good time.