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Life Lessons: Ovarian cancer

Published On: May 01 2013 05:00:00 AM EDT

One woman is trying to customize each woman's fight with deadly ovarian cancer.

About 22,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and 15,000 will die from it.

Treating this cancer has typically been a one-size-fits-all approach -- until now.

One woman is trying to customize each woman's fight with this deadly disease.


The Clearity Foundation was founded by an ovarian cancer survivor and scientist, Dr. Laura Shawver.

Dr. Shawyer says the odds aren't good for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer:

"Eighty percent of people respond to traditional chemotherapy, but 80 percent of us recur."

The doctor says treatment choices aren't clear when the cancer recurs.

Shawver says, "Right now, it's 'pick out of a hat' guesswork as to which one it will be. I just think as a scientist, well, we can do better than that."

The non-profit foundation performs molecular profiling. Tumors are sent to labs and analyzed.

Patients are then provided treatment suggestions based on their tumor's specific genetic make-up.

Shawver says, "We're doing something that I feel the medical community and the insurance community should already be doing."

So far, the Clearity Foundation has profiled the tumors of almost 300 women.

The profiling can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000.

Insurance often covers the expense, but the foundation will help pick up the tab for uninsured patients or those who cannot afford their co-pay.