2012.6.13 New Report Ranks 50 States on Provision of Care to Women with Ovarian Cancer

Washington, DC—A report released by the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance identifies four categories essential to quality care for women with ovarian cancer, and ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their provision of such care. Ovarian Cancer: A Call for State Action calls for legislators and advocates to work together on improving the environment for women with ovarian cancer in their communities.

Ovarian cancer affects one in 71 women in the United States; approximately 22,280 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. With no early detection test and a high mortality rate, it is essential that women have access to the care they need to diagnose and treat ovarian cancer. As this new report shows, where a woman lives can have a dramatic effect on her access to health care and support services related to her disease.

“Every state has room for improvement when it comes to women with ovarian cancer,” notes Cara Tenenbaum, Vice President for Policy and External Affairs at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. “The good news is that our research uncovered many examples of programs that work—from laws ensuring coverage of second opinions to local groups providing support services and education around ovarian cancer.”

Ovarian Cancer: A Call for State Action examined laws, policies and programs in four broad categories.

  • Access to Care—Optimal care for women who are suspected of having ovarian cancer includes prompt diagnosis, surgery performed by a gynecologic oncologist and access to the full range of care along the continuum of their disease. This encompasses monitoring high risk women and those in remission, treating those with active disease, providing support services at all points and assisting with end-of-life issues.
  • Education—By educating women and providers about the symptoms and risk factors of this disease, states can improve the odds that a woman will seek appropriate medical care and be diagnosed promptly.
  • Quality of Life—Support services that help a woman cope with her diagnosis and treatment are an essential component of quality care for ovarian cancer. In addition to patients, family members and caregivers often need emotional, financial and/or medical help.
  • Research Support—Despite improvements in diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer, death rates have not changed significantly in the more than 40 years since the War on Cancer was declared. Research is essential to find better tools for diagnosing and treating this disease.

An advisory committee composed of experts in policy, women’s health and oncology determined the criteria and their relative weights in the scoring system. States were ranked based on their overall score.

Also included in the report are recommendations for advocates and legislators, as well as sample legislation addressing many of the variables used to evaluate states’ provision of care to women with ovarian cancer. Ms. Tenenbaum notes: “Our goal is to start a conversation about how policies and programs within a state affect ovarian cancer patients. We hope this report will stimulate states and advocates to improve their environment for anyone struggling with a serious illness—not just women with ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and our national network of supporters stand ready to assist anyone who wants to implement the policies and programs we recommend in this report.”

Ovarian Cancer: A Call for State Action is available in full at ovariancancer.org/report-card. The site includes dedicated pages for each state, a detailed analysis of the criteria used to rank the states, discussion of the report card methodology, suggested actions for advocates and legislators, and sample legislation that would benefit women with ovarian cancer.

States in Order of Rank
1    California
2    Maryland
3    Wisconsin
4    Illinois, Oregon
6    Connecticut, Ohio
8    Colorado
9    Florida, Massachusetts
11    District of Columbia, New York, North Carolina
14    Arizona, Georgia, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, Washington
20    Minnesota, Pennsylvania
22    Delaware, Indiana
24    Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine
28    Michigan, Missouri
30    South Carolina
31    New Mexico, West Virginia
33    Hawaii, Utah
35    Nebraska, New Hampshire
37    Arkansas
38    Kansas, Oklahoma
40    Montana, Nevada, Rhode Island
43    Louisiana, Vermont
45    Alaska
46    South Dakota
47    Mississippi
48    Idaho, Tennessee
50    North Dakota
51    Wyoming

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocate for women with ovarian cancer in the United States. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, the organization advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1997.

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For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Amanda Davis at adavis@ovariancancer.org or (202)331-1332.