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PBS Documentary on Ovarian Cancer

September 9, 2010

MANHASSET, NY – More than 15,000 women this year will be struck down by ovarian cancer, a silent killer and the most fatal of gynecologic cancers. To raise awareness of this devastating disease, Long Island’s Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) affiliate WLIW-Channel 21  will present the exclusive New York metro area premiere of a half-hour television documentary entitled “The Whisper: The Silent Crisis of Ovarian Cancer.” To  preview  the documentary, go to ww.northshorelij.com. The program will debut at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 24, with encore presentations scheduled for 10:30 p.m. on Monday, September 27, and 11:30 p.m. on Friday, October 1. The program will be rolled out to other PBS affiliates across the country over the next year.

Among the nationally renowned ovarian cancer experts featured in the documentary is John Lovecchio, MD, chief of gynecologic oncology at the North Shore-LIJ Health System  and a leader of the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute, who offers his insight on ways to combat this deadly form of cancer. He was also credited as the technical advisor for the documentary.

“Taking part in this program was a labor of love and concern for my patients,” said Dr. Lovecchio, who is based at North Shore University Hospital  in Manhasset. “I wanted to make sure that women are getting the right information, and are aware of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. They must be alert to their own bodies and recognize that abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, urinary symptoms, difficulty in eating, and feeling full quickly may not be the norm.”

The statistics about ovarian cancer are staggering: nearly three out of every four women with this disease will die because of it. Chances of survival can improve if it is detected early and confined to the ovaries. Unfortunately, only about 25 percent are found at this stage. Victims of the disease include President Obama’s mother Ann Soetoro, Coretta Scott King and comedienne Gilda Radner.

The documentary was made possible by a generous grant from the Sonia L. Totino Foundation and the Rocco Totino family. Mr. Totino, a New York resident, lost his wife Sonia to ovarian cancer several years ago, and wished to honor her with an initiative that seeks to raise awareness among women of the warning signs of ovarian cancer, and by doing so, reduce the number of women lost to this devastating disease.

“Women should seek the advice of experts trained in this field and not think that they are being alarmists. Other medical experts and patients interviewed in this documentary are all seeking the same outcome -- to make every woman aware of her own body and to encourage every woman to seek help if she feels that something is not quite right,” said Dr. Lovecchio, who was interviewed for the documentary along with ovarian cancer experts from the University of Washington, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

To find out about The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research’s , clinical studies related to gynecologic oncology, go to: www.feinsteininstitute.org. To learn more about supporting ovarian cancer research initiatives at the Feinstein Institute, please call (516) 465-2554 or visit http://support.northshorelij.com/research

Media Contact:
Elaine Wohl/Terry Lynam
516-465-2615/ 516-465-2640
ewohl@nshs.edu /tlynam@nshs.edu

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