DENVER, CO--(Marketwire - May 27, 2011) - The following press release is being issued by the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA) to raise awareness about ovarian cancer:

Like many women, Amy Nofziger once believed ovarian cancer was an "older woman's" disease. Yet, in 2006, Nofziger, then just 30, received a diagnosis that could have ended her life.

Incremental abdominal pain Nofziger self-diagnosed as a possible stress-related ulcer was, in fact, a 13cm ovarian tumor. Although both her obstetrician and radiologist were fairly confident the growth was not cancerous because of Nofziger's age and atypical symptoms, they scheduled surgery anyway. The result: the growth -- an immature teratoma -- was malignant.

Prior to surgery, Nofziger conducted her own research on ovarian cancer. The diagnosis wasn't what she wanted to hear -- but it was one she was ready to act upon. Though her doctor recommended an immediate and complete hysterectomy if the tumor biopsy -- conducted while Nofziger was still on the operating table -- proved malignant, Nofziger left clear instructions to the contrary.

"I told them, 'If it comes back positive, close me up, wake me up and we'll discuss the options,'" Nofziger says. "I had a two-year-old son, and I wanted other children. Although I subsequently wasn't able to reproduce anymore, I certainly wasn't ready to wake up from surgery and find out not only that I had cancer, but also had a full hysterectomy as well."

Nofziger underwent a staging surgery one week after the first operation. Three weeks later, all the staging came back clear. Her doctor suggested a "watch-and-see" strategy for chemotherapy or additional surgery. While Nofziger and her husband were thrilled with the recommendation, they sought a second and a then a third opinion. In both cases, specialists recommended chemo, with one saying, "You are playing Russian roulette with your life if you don't do chemo."

"When you have a two-year-old boy staring at you, the watch-and-see approach was very difficult to accept," Nofziger says. "I wanted to fight this head on to be around for my son. Therefore, we went forward with three rounds of chemo."

Today, Nofziger still has lingering effects from the powerful drugs, but this August marks five years since the cancer diagnosis. Her oldest son is now six. A younger son, now two, joined the family through adoption.

"In the Book of Amy Nofziger, cancer is just a small chapter of my life," Nofziger says. "It won't define me. What defines me is what comes after."

Learn... And Live

Ovarian cancer can strike women of any age, and there are no specific screening tools for the disease. Recognizing and acting on early warning signs is what saves lives.

Learn more about how to spot early symptoms at Jodi's Race for Awareness, Sat., June 4, in Denver's City Park. The 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Family Walk was specifically created to raise awareness of ovarian cancer's subtle but persistent warning signs.

Created by Colorado native Jodi Brammeier and first held in June 2010, Jodi's Race for Awareness is both a celebration of life and a time to honor and remember those women lost to the disease. Brammeier was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008 and died of the disease in 2010, two months after Jodi's Race was held. She was convinced that she would have discovered the cancer earlier if she had been more aware of the signs and symptoms, and it was her goal to help other women improve their odds against the disease.

Registration for the 2011 Jodi's Race for Awareness currently is underway online at

To learn more about the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA) and its programs visit

Contact Information:

Media Contact:
Gerri Gomez Howard
Cell: 303-748-3933