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Ovarian cancer patients advise Obama transition team

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Local ovarian cancer patients, survivors, and their relatives gathered at the Washington University Medical School Tuesday night to act as advisers to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team.

It's one of the thousands of community forums advocates are holding at the request of Obama's health secretary-designate Tom Daschle.

Jan Paul is a member of St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness, and the host of the event. She says the federal government has failed ovarian cancer patients in several ways in the past.

"Well it hasn't funded cancer research very well," she said. "The government has not helped with an awareness campaign that would make available to women the information about symptoms."

Twenty-one thousand women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer a year. It has the highest mortality rate of any gynecologic cancer - it took the life of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham.

Paul says that puts Obama in a unique position to understand a key issue facing ovarian cancer patient - the limited access some have to treatment.

"My understanding from the speeches is that she didn't get the treatments she needed in a timely manner because of insurance issues," she said.