More than 21,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year, and it can be a swift killer. “My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the fall, and died at Christmas,” says historical romance novelist Eloisa James, who also lost two other women close to her to the disease in the year following her mother’s death. There is no early detection or screening test for ovarian cancer, and its first symptoms—which include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pains, difficulty eating, or urinary problems—can often be overlooked or dismissed. That’s why only 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed when the disease is still in an early, more treatable stage.
This September, as part of Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Avon Romance is earmarking seven books (and e-books) for a fundraising drive that will continue through the end of February 2012. The program is called “K.I.S.S. and Teal;” the acronym stands for “Know the Important Signs and Symptoms,” and teal is the official color of the ovarian cancer awareness ribbon. For every copy of a book with the “K.I.S.S. and Teal” logo on its cover sold between August 30 and February 28, Avon Books will donate 25 cents to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, up to $25,000—and that’s matching the publisher’s initial $25,000 donation.
“If ovarian cancers are detected early, they are treatable,” says Stephanie Laurens, whose Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue is one of the titles in the K.I.S.S. and Teal program. “If you suffer from any of these [symptoms] for more than two weeks, see your gynecologist.” And be sure to tell other women you know about these early warning signs, too. Even if you are never diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there is a strong chance that at least one woman you know—a relative or partner, a friend, a coworker—will be. (And it’s not always age-related: Roughly 12 percent of the cases diagnosed between 2002 and 2006 affected women younger than 45.) Ovarian cancer currently kills about 15,000 women in the U.S. each year. With greater awareness, and earlier diagnoses, we may be able to bring that number down.
The following novels are part of Avon Romance’s “K.I.S.S. and Teal” campaign:
Lyndsay Sands, The Deed; Stephanie Laurens, Viscount Breckinridge to the Rescue; Jenny Brown, Star-Crossed Seduction; Katherine Ashe, In the Arms of a Marquess; Tessa Dare, A Night to Surrender; Caroline Linden, One Night in London; Cathy Maxwell, The Seduction of Scandal
—Ron Hogan helped create the literary Internet by launching Beatrice.com in 1995. His most recent book is Getting Right with Tao, a print edition of his popular online “translation” of the Tao Te Ching into modern vernacular.
He is also the author of The Stewardess Is Flying the Plane, a visual tribute to ’70s Hollywood, and a contributor to several anthologies, including the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning, Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens, and Secrets of the Lost Symbol.