Despite the fact that a woman’s odds of having ovarian cancer are about 1 in 78, compared to 1 in 8 women having breast cancer, ovarian cancer is often harder to overcome. Because the symptoms can be mild and include stomach pain, back pain, bloating, feeling full, and tiredness, ovarian cancer is not often caught until it is in the late stages.
The goal of the UK Markey Cancer Center Ovarian Cancer Screening Program is to catch ovarian cancer early. The Center is working to achieve this goal by offering free screenings to women across the Commonwealth. All women over 50 years old, and those over 25 whose family has a history of ovarian cancer, are eligible for the screening. To date, over 47,000 women have received a screening from the Markey screening program. Screenings now take place in county health departments and can be performed in Lexington, Paducah, Maysville, Elizabethtown, Prestonburg, and Somerset.
While the screening itself is free, the screening equipment still requires funds so it can be kept in working order. The Muhlenberg County Homemakers have made it their mission to help. In the mid-1990s, the Homemakers hosted a bean supper to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. They charged $5 for adults and $3 for children under twelve.
Today, the meal prices are the same, but community support has grown. “We also have a live auction,” says Muhlenberg County Homemaker Pat Key. “One of our quilts will be in the live auction, and one is for a raffle.”
Muhlenberg County Homemaker Nancy Sandlin says, “Through the bean supper and auction, we raise over $3,000 a year. Since 2012, $21,689 was raised.” She goes on to add that Muhlenberg County is the third highest-donating county in the state. On average, 311 people support the efforts annually by attending the bean supper, or ordering food to go.
Pat Key is among seven Kentuckians who are the longest-living ovarian cancer survivors. She credits her screening for the early detection of the cancer. Both Key and Sandlin encourage all ladies to take advantage of the free screenings. “Anyone can call and make an appointment,” Key adds.
Appointments should be scheduled in advance by calling (800) 766-8279. The Muhlenberg County Homemaker’s annual bean supper is October 21 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Office. The live auction begins at 6:00. Tickets for the quilt raffle can be purchased today for $10 at the Extension Office as well.