Survivor, oncologist raise awareness at annual ovarian cancer walk |

Survivor, oncologist raise awareness at annual ovarian cancer walk

Brittney Ermon
Updated: September 20, 2021 02:24 PM
Created: September 18, 2021 04:33 PM

Step by step, Minnesotans raised ovarian cancer awareness at the annual HOM Teal Strides event on Saturday morning at Rosland Park in Edina.

The Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA) holds the event every year to bring hope to a tough situation. 

“I am a three-year survivor so I’m very happy with that,” Becky Drexler, ovarian cancer survivor, said. 

In 2018, Drexler was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. 

"I had surgery then had some complications from my surgery,” Drexler said. “I went through three months of chemo.” 

Drexler and her team started walking at the HOM Teal Strides event in 2016 in honor of her best friend, Connie, who lost her fight against ovarian cancer. 

"We continue to raise money for important research — especially an early detection test,” Drexler said.

Over 21,000 women will be diagnosed this year with ovarian cancer in the United States and more than half won't survive, according to MOCA.

“It's tough for those families that have to go through the entire journey,” Dr. Jessica Thomes-Pepin, a Minnesota Oncology gynecologic oncologist, said. “It's really hard. It's not easy treatment. It's not easy anticipation.”

Doctors said it's important for women to know their family history, as well as recognize signs and symptoms to catch it early.

“Belly bloating, difficulty eating, difficulty stooling, if your bowel movements change or if your urinary habits change,” Thomes-Pepin said. 

At this time, ovarian cancer does not have a cure. 

"Some new medications that we've started using in the last couple years are really doing wonderful things for women, but we're still not there yet,” Thomes-Pepin said.

Experts say raising awareness could increase a woman's chances of winning the battle.

"I know a number of women who are five, 10 or 15 years and they are motivation for me to know I can survive that long too,” Drexler said.

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