Veterinary Outreach Program

Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association partners with the Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization to fight ovarian cancer with animal passion

Members of this trusted medical discipline have immediate access to individuals already inclined to discuss health issues in their presence, and offer additional voices that can spread the word about the silent symptoms of ovarian cancer and help save lives.

According to Peter Weber, executive director of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA), members report that pet parents talking about their pet’s health often feel comfortable talking about their own health concerns.  This provides that veterinarian a platform that can offer an easy transition into difficult concerns and conversations about the individual’s health.

The VOP will inform urban and rural veterinarians, veterinary clinicians, and veterinary discipline students about ovarian cancer and its silent symptom including bloating, pelvic pain, difficulty eating and frequent or urgent urination. Veterinarians and clinics can join the program for a nominal fee which covers costs for a start-up kit including educational displays and brochures regarding the silent symptoms, where to find more information, and how to find medical assistance.

Each year, over 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 women die from the disease. There is an urgent need to share the silent symptoms so early detection and treatment are achieved, and lives are saved. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 80 percent of veterinarians graduating today are female. This increases the possibility of a personal connection to the disease and a viable tie to the purpose of the VOP.

OCSA’s new VOP engages and collaborates with veterinarians, whose medical discipline is charged with promoting and protecting public health, ensuring an environment free from animal-borne diseases, hazards and more in addition to caring for the animals they serve. To further show their support of the veterinary community, OCSA presented veterinary scholarships in the name of co-founder Susan M. Roman in 2012. It is designed to award scholarships each year to veterinary discipline students who have been influenced by ovarian cancer.