BLOG: Making our voices heard

BLOG: Making our voices heard



Educating the medical community is a main mission of MOCA’s. But we couldn’t do it without ovarian cancer survivors who volunteer to tell their stories. Ellen Kleinbaum, a former MOCA Board Member and ovarian and breast cancer survivor, tells us why she educates medical professionals by sharing her story.

For the past several years, I’ve had the honor of speaking to a variety of healthcare professionals thanks to the Survivors Teaching Students® program and other MOCA medical education efforts coordinated by Kathy McGovern, MOCA’s medical education programs manager.

Each speaking engagement reinforces the importance of this program. It is a great opportunity to reach out and tell the story of my diagnosis to individuals who may very well be seeing patients who display symptoms of ovarian cancer. My hope is that my story will come back to them and help them make the correct diagnosis.

For me, speaking is a way of giving back to the incredible medical team who took care of me during treatments and hospitalization over the last 21 years. Each time I speak I am so grateful to be able to help others. And although there may be nerves before standing up before a group, MOCA works with survivor-speakers to make sure we feel comfortable and prepared in telling our story.

This program has given me opportunities to speak to medical students, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and so many others throughout the state. And MOCA continues to widen our reach each year.  We’ve presented before groups ranging from 20 people to groups as large as 200. No matter the size, as survivors, we know that each group is important.

Over the years many people have approached me to thank me for the information they received. Because I tell the story of my hereditary cancer, I know it’s prompted some women to seek genetic counseling. I am blessed to have this opportunity and be a part of this program.  As those touched by ovarian cancer know, knowledge is power!

If you are interested in  learning more about MOCA’s STS® program, contact