Ovarian Cancer: Community Connection


Photograph of Kishwaukee Hospital, DeKalb IL (Credit:foundation.nm.org)

Sarah Kanas, Staff Writer

For many, ovarian cancer is relatively uncommon, but it is an illness that is extremely deadly. This illness is a disease that goes undetected in the female organs until it spreads with in the pelvis and the belly. The signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal bloating or swelling, weight loss and discomfort in the pelvis area. They also include heartburn, back pain and painful irregularities. Ovarian cancer is known as the “silent killer” because it’s thought to be undetectable when reaching the later stages of affecting the body. The population of ovarian cancer has shown that there are 20,000 women diagnosed in the United States. The deaths of patients with ovarian cancer in 2007 had increased from 8.2 to 8.3% while in 2019, there are 606,880 patients who died from the causes of the disease (mayoclinic.com).

While the pink ribbon symbolizes awareness for patients battling breast cancer, the teal ribbon symbolizes awareness for patients battling ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer awareness month in the United States takes place in September and it gives organizations the opportunity to raise awareness for patients with the illness and provide education for those who need to understand it (sharecancersupport.org).


Twelve years ago, I had a relative who had ovarian cancer.

That relative was my mother, Claudia Kanas. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and went to the Kishwaukee hospital for treatment in DeKalb, IL. There, the doctors gave her strong medication and she lost her hair during the treatment (until it started to grow back). Days went by until my mother made the choice to stop the treatment towards the end of February. Five days later, she came home in an ambulance and had two visits from friends and family.

During her time back at home, my mother started making loud noises and her pain got worse as the ovarian cancer made the final attack inside her body. At that moment, my twin brother and sister and I said our final goodbyes and went to bed.

On March 3rd, 2007, 10:30pm my mother, Claudia Kanas passed away after her long fight against ovarian cancer; at the young age of 46.

While my brother, sister and I slept, my mother’s body was moved out to be turned into ashes and a lunar eclipse occurred at 11:20pm.

From then on, my family and I moved forward without her. Twelve years later, I continue to face new challenges without my mother and overcome new obstacles in college despite my disability.

I will never forget her for more years to come and no matter what will happen or how far I will go, I will always remember my mother and she remains in my heart forever.