Women and families wanting to know more about ovarian cancer can attend a free seminar about the disease Saturday in Kennewick.
Washington woman suffer the highest incidence of ovarian cancer in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Clint Burwell, executive director of the Rivkin Center in Seattle, said it's not clear why the state rate is high, but it creates a greater urgency to raise awareness of the disease.
"The importance of early detection of ovarian cancer cannot be over emphasized," he said. "When it is detected in an early stage, over 90 percent of women survive."
Burwell noted that early symptoms are difficult to diagnose, often are misdiagnosed or go undetected. That means about 85 percent of ovarian cancer cases don't get diagnosed until the advanced stages.
The Tri-City seminar "Early Detection of Ovarian Cancer: What All Women Should Know," is from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Three Rivers Convention Center, 7016 W. Grandridge Blvd., Kennewick.
Several experts will speak including:
w Sarah Hall, a genetic counselor at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, talking about hereditary and genetic risk and the connection between ovarian and breast cancer;
w Dr. Tom Rado, director of medical oncology at Columbia Basin Hematology & Oncology in Kennewick, talking about the state of ovarian cancer treatment, diagnostic standards and research.
w Diane O'Connor, president of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance in Washington, D.C., talking about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and ways to reduce risk factors.
w Paula Manner of the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research and Swedish Cancer Institute Clinical Research talking about ovarian cancer screening and how to participate in early detection research.
w Dr. Maria Corinna Palanca-Wessels, a clinical researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, talking about international research in prevention, detection and treatment.
w Kay Kerbyson, president and founder of the Tri-City-based Ovarian Cancer Together, presenting a survivor's perspective and talking about advocacy work to raise awareness and educate the public.
The program will be moderated by Wendy Law, scientific programs director at the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research.
The event is co-sponsored by the Rivkin center, Kadlec, Ovarian Cancer Together, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and Wanda Jankelson Foundation for Health Care and Research.