Cancer runs rampant in my family gene pool and ovarian cancer is what ultimately claimed the life of my grandmother in the early70's, shortly after her 50th birthday. The preventative meds and treatments available today did not exists then. If they had, my grandmother and so many of my relatives who succumbed to cancer might still be here.
Not a day in my life goes by that I don't wonder what my "Ganna" would think of the strong, productive, innovative woman I grew up to be. In my dreams, I imagine she would beam with joy and pride.
This is dream shared by many. Why? Because every 7 minutes a woman is diagnosed with gynecological cancer. To be specific over 1,000,000 have been diagnosed in the US alone in the last 30 years - averaging about 95,000 women each year. There is NO definitive test to detect gynecological cancer, although knowing the symptoms could probably save a life. So, why is there no constant discussion of cancer in the lady part region? Is it taboo? Are people just afraid to talk about yet ANOTHER cancer?
N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) is an illuminating documentary that shines a bright spotlight on a group of oncologists/musicians, who are dedicated to breaking the silence on this issue one song at a time with their traveling rock band. Dr.'s John Boggess, M.D., Joanie Hope, M.D., Nimesh Nagarsheth, M.D., William "Rusty" Robinson, M.D. , William Winter, M.D. and John Soper M.D. are band members/cancer surgeons who are using medicine and music to fight for the lives of their patients. Dr. John Boggess said it best, "...I'm gonna help people be okay no matter what happens...doctors are the brokers of a patient's quality of life". Check them out at www.nedtheband.com
Emmy winner, Andrea Kalin directed this soul stirring piece that will inform you, break and warm your heart all at the same time, but more importantly will leave its audience a little more hopeful that our government will take preventative measures to spend federal funding on other cancers than prostate (considering the fact that gynecological cancers kills just as many cancer patients as prostate cancer does). It's a little know fact that prostate cancer receives 50% more federal research funds than all gynecological cancers combined.
Kalin puts a face to gynecological cancer by allowing us to see women who have been diagnosed anywhere between 13 and 70 years of age. We are a fly on the wall for these women, who are all in various stages of treatment. The struggle is real for their families. We watch as they navigate through hospice issues, saying goodbye to a loved while they are still here and after their body has left this realm and how depilating the effects of chemotherapy can effect the body and the spirit.
We are taught that awareness is the first step.to prevention and possibly saving a life. When most women get a "buddha belly", it's assumed it is due to overeating, lack of exercise or fibroids. It is also one of many symptoms associated with cancers of the lower region. One of the most prolific moments for me was when one patient's daughter told her to look at chemo as "little warriors there to do their business against cancers cells that have declared war"
The doctors treating these cases are human too. Often times, if a cancer recurs, patients and/or their families will blame the doctors, which can be hard to take on more than one level.
Through cancer patient Jennie McGihon, we are introduced to The Foundation for Women's Cancer who sponsors The National Race to End Women's Cancer every year. It's goal is to raise awareness with this race every fall in Washington, D.C. In 2015, the race is set for November 8th. For more information on FWC or the race - log onto www.foundationforwomenscancer.org. For more information concerning resources and links of what every women should know about GYN cancer - log onto www.nedthemovie.com.
N.ED. (No Evidence of Disease) is a must-see! Watch and share with friends and let's halt this cancer below the belt once and for all. N.E.D. can be seen now at Regal Cinemas Theaters Nationwide + Canada NOW and available on VOD (iTunes, Xbox, Playstation, Amazon, Vimeo) beginning on March 6th with a running time of 60 minutes.