Friday, February 18th, 2011
On the 22 February (the eve of Teal Ribbon Day), for the first time in history the Sydney Opera House will be lit teal, the international colour representing ovarian cancer.

This symbolic lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails in teal will be in honour of all the women who have lost their battle with ovarian cancer and a tribute to those who have overcome the disease.

Importantly, Ovarian Cancer Australia will be creating a symbol of hope for the 1 in 77 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime.

In launching Teal Ribbon Day with this historic event, Ovarian Cancer Australia will also generate awareness of ovarian cancer with the sale of Teal Ribbons and Touch of Teal events to provide a conversational platform that educates women about the disease and symptoms while funding vital support programs and research that can save lives.

Every day, ovarian cancer affects Australian women of all ages - someone’s partner, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s friend or someone’s mother. Girls as young as 7 and young women in the prime of their lives have been diagnosed with the disease. And while the risk of ovarian cancer increases with age (average age for an ovarian cancer diagnosis is 64) the fact is that the majority of Australian women DON’T know the symptoms of ovarian cancer but almost ALL women with the disease do suffer symptoms.

This year, more than 1200 Australian women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer which is 3 women every day, while more than 800 will lose their battle with the disease – that’s one woman every 11 hours!

For Teal Ribbon Day, we’re inviting everyone to purchase a Teal Ribbon and wear a ‘Touch of Teal’ to show their support for the women who have, and will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year.

In a tribute to women who fight this disease, Ovarian Cancer Australia’s Teal Ribbon Day will form the focal point of a national awareness campaign aimed at educating women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer while creating a deeper understanding of the impact ovarian cancer has on women and their loved ones.

Paula Benson, Chair of Ovarian Cancer Australia and an ovarian cancer survivor said, “With teal being the international colour representing ovarian cancer, we initiated Teal Ribbon Day to provide a platform to educate women as well as generate vital funds for support services and research to improve long-term outcomes for women with ovarian cancer.

“Importantly, Teal Ribbon Day is essential in informing ALL Australian women about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer that if diagnosed in the early stages, can significantly improve treatment outcomes offering a greater chance of survival,” she said.

“Teal Ribbon Day is our primary means of educating EVERY WOMAN about the symptoms of ovarian cancer, to inform them that there is NO EARLY DETECTION TEST FOR the disease and importantly, enabling us to dispel the myth that a Pap smear detects the disease - IT DOES NOT!

“Only knowing and identifying the symptoms, can aid in early detection that can save lives so it’s vital that women make it their business to learn the symptoms today,” Ms Benson said.

Currently, 75% of women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the advanced stages and tragically will not live beyond five years. However, if diagnosed in the early stages, the majority of these women can survive.

“With one in 77 Australian women developing ovarian cancer in their lifetime, and one woman dying from this devastating disease every 11 hours, the message to all Australian women is clear; learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer today. Don’t leave it until the 11th hour!” Ms Benson said.

“For Teal Ribbon Day, we’re inviting women to visit our website to learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer and, for those who are concerned about symptoms they may be experiencing, they can download our free Symptom Diary to track what they are experiencing to better communicate their symptoms to their GP,” she said.

Ovarian Cancer Australia is also inviting all women to purchase a Teal Ribbon and host an Afternoon Teal™, an initiative designed to raise funds while promoting ovarian cancer awareness among women’s networks, organisations and corporates who can come together to share an Afternoon Teal™ with friends, family and colleagues.

Afternoon Teal™ Ambassador, Jean Kittson urged all Australians to get behind this initiative and help women with ovarian cancer and their families. “By hosting an Afternoon Teal™ during February or on Teal Ribbon Day - Wednesday 23rd February - you can all raise funds and at the same time learn the symptoms of ovarian cancer,” Ms Kittson said.

“Your event can be as simple or elaborate as you like. It could be a High Teal in the garden with your girlfriends on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or an Afternoon Teal™ at work or at a neighbourhood picnic at the beach or in the park,” she said.

“Whatever activity you do with family, friends and colleagues this February, make it a Touch of Teal or an Afternoon Teal™ event and help raise funds that will touch the lives of women who have been touched by ovarian cancer,” she said.

Ovarian Cancer Australia is the only national organisation delivering ovarian cancer awareness and support to women and their families affected by the disease and is a partner of a national research program working toward diagnosis and treatments for ovarian cancer.

Teal Ribbons are available at Chemmart, Napoleon Perdis, Ovarian Cancer Australia and Showbiz. Register your Touch of Teal or Afternoon Teal™ event or make a donation today at or call 1300 660 334.

Teal Ribbon Day is Wednesday 23rd February!
For more information about ovarian cancer and Ovarian Cancer Australia:
Phone: 1300 660 334
Email: [email protected]
For more information regarding the Royal College of General Practitioners visit


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Teal Ribbon, ovarian cancer, natasha stott despoja, patricia bailey, jane stephens, jean kittson, meshel laurie, alice burton, sydney opera house, world first



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