Q and A with Dr. Elizabeth Swisher

“February 4 is World Cancer Day and February is Cancer Prevention Month. I sat down with Dr. Elizabeth Swisher, medical director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, to learn about her project aimed at preventing ovarian cancer.

Why the focus on ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of the gynecological cancers. We have about 22,000 diagnoses of ovarian cancer in the U.S. every year and about 14,000 deaths, which is a very high mortality rate. As a doctor, I just can’t abide seeing so many women in the prime of life die from ovarian cancer.

What can be done?

I believe we can empower women at high risk of ovarian cancer with the tools they need to decrease their lifetime ovarian cancer risk. That’s what we are trying to do through a research project and clinical trials supported by Stand Up To Cancer and the advocacy groups Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance and National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. Our overall goal is to address barriers to ovarian cancer prevention by delivering high-quality education creating new and more accessible options for genetic testing and counseling, and providing more options for surgical prevention.”


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