During September, we observe National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month to recognize those who have died and recommit ourselves to helping the women who are fighting for their health. Every year, more than 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, which is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women and accounts for more than 14,000 deaths a year.
The Administration advances scientific research to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment. When ovarian cancer is found in its early stages, treatment is most effective, but there is currently no proven method to screen for ovarian cancer in women.
The Affordable Care Act is making health care more accessible and providing important protections for women. Insurers must cover at no out-of-pocket cost an annual well-woman visit, which is a good time for women to discuss their concerns about ovarian cancer with their health care provider. The law also guarantees coverage for genetic counseling and testing for certain women at high risk for ovarian cancer.
Also, in 2014, the health law makes it illegal to deny coverage or charge more if a woman has ovarian cancer or other pre-existing condition.
Information for the public about the risks and symptoms of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/ovarian/
Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.