“Painting toenails teal starts the conversation about the signs of this whispering killer,” says Carey Fitzmaurice, founder of Teal Toes and a survivor of ovarian cancer. Teal Toes encourages people to paint their toenails teal, the color of ovarian cancer awareness, during the month of September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. “The conversation can save lives,” says Carey. “Women diagnosed at an early stage have a much higher five-year survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage. Fewer than 20% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed early.”

Historically ovarian cancer was called the “silent killer” because symptoms were not thought to develop until the chance of a cure was poor. However, recent studies have shown this term is untrue and that certain symptoms are much more likely to occur in women with ovarian cancer than in women in the general population. These symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).

The Teal Toes website contains more valuable information about symptoms of ovarian cancer, resources for additional information, ideas for how to spread the word about ovarian cancer, and even lists of teal nail polish brands.

The organization urges salons to participate in this awareness campaign in several ways.

> Offer teal polish in your salon. Many lovely teal polishes are currently available.

> Feature “Teal Toes” cards (which have the symptoms printed on one side) in a prominent area of your salon and encourage your customers to take one. Go to www.tealtoes.org/contact to order cards. They can also assist you with fliers and signs.

> Consider offering a discount on pedicures that use teal polish, or make a donation to your local cancer center or ovarian cancer organization for each teal pedicure done in your salon.

Get involved and get your name on the Teal Toes “honor roll” of participating salons. For more information go to www.tealtoes.org or www.facebook.com/tealtoes.

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