Portland, OR. January 15th, 2014. Local Vancouver resident Diane O’Connor is the new President of the Board of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA), based in Washington, D.C.  O’Connor is also the board president and co-founder of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and SW Washington (OCAOSW), a partner member of OCNA.

“Diane O’Connor and Diane Elizondo, the co-founders of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and SW Washington applaud a sold-out crowd at “O-Vary Funny! A Stand-up Benefit for Ovarian Cancer” on Sept. 19th

“Diane O’Connor and Diane Elizondo, the co-founders of the Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and SW Washington applaud at a benefit for Ovarian Cancer on Sept. 19th

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocacy organization for women with ovarian cancer. Representing tens of thousands of women with ovarian cancer, OCNA works closely with the federal government to ensure funding for research and education, and also seeks to raise awareness of the risks, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

“We are extremely proud that Diane will lead the OCNA board,” said Diane Elizondo, who also serves on the local OCAOSW board and co-founded the organization with O’Connor.  “The dedication, compassion and knowledge Diane brings with her will be a wonderful asset to OCNA. We in the Pacific Northwest are proud to have her in this exciting new role and wish her well.”

“I am excited to welcome Diane as the new board president,” said OCNA Chief Executive Officer Calaneet Balas. “She brings us a wealth of expertise, as well as personal experience with the devastating effects of ovarian cancer.”

O’Connor received an ovarian cancer diagnosis in late 2001. She has been on the OCNA board since 2006, but has been an ovarian cancer advocate since her initial treatment concluded in 2002. She has been an integral part of OCNA’s Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s Lives (STS®) program for ten years.

Locally, Survivors Teaching Students ® volunteers present their stories to all third-year medical students at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), as well as to all other local nursing, pharmacy and naturopathic students. In all, there are more than two dozen STS® presentations each year, and O’Connor is a presenter at each one.

O’Connor is a retired high school counselor in the Vancouver school district. She is married to Terry O’Connor with whom she has two grown sons, and two granddaughters.

Ovarian cancer is the 5th leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women, and is the deadliest of all the gynecologic cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013 more than 22,000 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 will die from it.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer may include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary urgency or frequency. If these symptoms persist almost daily for two weeks, experts suggest a combination pelvic/rectal exam, CA 125 blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound.

The Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Oregon and SW Washington is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and partner member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.