A new comic book “Understanding Ovarian Cancer” is helping children and young people understand ovarian cancer. Mother and grandmother, Veronica knows this comic will help thousands of women who are looking for ways to talk about an ovarian cancer diagnosis with their children and younger relatives.

cover art of the comic book about ovarian cancerThe brand new comic follows Jenny whose Grandma has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Two of the five Medikidz characters, Skindy and Pump, take Jenny on an adventure through the human body to learn all about the condition.

The comic was developed by Jumo Health in collaboration with the Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG), Ovarian Cancer Australia, a peer review panel, and sponsored by Roche.

Veronica was a single parent of three when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her youngest son Jordan was just 12 years old. The survival rate for ovarian cancer is just 43%; only 2 out of 5 women diagnosed survive five years.

“At that point I was so worried and scared about myself, I didn’t talk about it to Jordan, he only knew that I was diagnosed with cancer and I would do whatever I can to live. He was so young he wouldn’t even have known what ovaries are” said Veronica.

Veronica faced the harsh reality that for the next 12 months or more she needed to dedicate her time and energy to getting well so she would live long enough to see her youngest son graduate from high school.

“I started to teach Jordan how to look after himself. I remember when I was showing him how to use the washing machine he was quite reluctant and I said ‘Look! If I am not here or I have to go to treatment or if I am unwell you have to do your own washing.’ During my chemotherapy Jordan mainly survived on canned food. I told him that soldiers in the war survived on this food and he was happy he could choose it himself” Veronica recalls.

Veronica and Jordan

Veronica and her youngest son Jordan, three years after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“I’m so glad to have this comic book” says Veronica. Veronica is a carrier of the BRCA mutation which increases the risk of being diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer. “My granddaughters have a 50% chance of carrying the mutation so I am happy to read them this story and help them understand ovarian cancer” said Veronica.

Veronica’s son Jordan adds: “A comic like this fills the gaps I had in my knowledge, and would be especially helpful for those who don’t deal well with such an emotionally confronting situation. Everyone reacts differently, but understanding the situation is empowering”.

Every year in Australia, more than 1600 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. And whilst survival rates for cancers generally have improved significantly over the past 30 years, ovarian cancer survival rates have not.

Clinical research is improving our understanding of the risk factors and causes of ovarian cancer, and developing better treatments. ANZGOG’s OASIS Initiative has invested $2.7 million to fast-track clinical trials of targeted treatments for ovarian cancer that are likely to make an impact within two years.

View the comic book online at https://www.jumoconnect.com/comics/understanding-ovarian-cancer-sneak-peek

Hard copies have been distributed by ANZGOG to major hospitals nationally, and are available to order from admin@anzgog.org.au