I have always believed in the healing power of music. As a gynecologic oncologist and musician, I knew that not enough people were aware of the risks posed by ovarian cancer, and that something needed to be done to increase awareness.
In 2017, I wrote and recorded the Any Mountain song to help explore the feelings and emotions someone might experience on their journey from diagnosis through treatment, and what it meant to be a survivor. I was inspired by how music can be used to tell stories and connect with people from different backgrounds, and I knew that I wanted to use my passion—and my platform—to help others.
Now, with the help of dynamic creative and research teams, the new Any Mountain project is raising awareness about ovarian cancer and creating a solution for prevention, early detection, and ultimately a cure using research, an app, music, and dance.
The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year, and that it will be fatal in almost 64% of cases. That makes it the fifth deadliest cancer for women, causing more deaths than any other cancer of the reproductive system. It also has a strong genetic component; nearly 20% of cases are principally genetic and could be prevented if people take early action.
We have developed a free app that can be used to learn your family cancer history. Recognizing risks early is an essential part of being cancer aware. If more people understood their family histories and took appropriate steps like early scanning, the death rate of this disease would be far lower. Our Any Mountain app will guide users through a simple cancer history quiz and triage those at higher risk by connecting them with genetic testing and health care resources in their local communities.
We’re also raising money to support our Any Mountain Expedition team, which is a tight-knit team of leading ovarian cancer specialists from all across the United States. In partnership with leading medical organizations like the University of Washington, The Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, and Mount Sinai Hospital, our researchers are developing new methods of early detection and prevention. Our research is currently focused on creating the first international surgical ovarian cancer prevention trial, which could revolutionize the prevention field by giving women new choices to decrease their risk. Our expedition team is expressly committed to ending racism within ovarian cancer prevention, research, and treatment. Our commitment to racial justice is integrated into everything we do.
Our non-profit partners include Let Every Woman Know—Alaska, which is dedicated to sharing information and saving lives by educating people in the Last Frontier and supporting women living with gynecologic cancers, and the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance, which helps manage our research, provide support and funding to families, and educate the medical community on this unique illness.
Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer, and a diagnosis can be one of the most difficult times that an individual—and their family—can go through. Our goal is to give women back the control over their medical decisions and the confidence to persevere over any mountain.
You can find out more about our campaign, and donate to help us reach the summit, by visiting the website at anymountainsong.com.
Dr. Joanie Mayer Hope is one of two gynecologic oncologists in the state of Alaska. She is the founder of Alaska Women’s Cancer Care and the Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Providence Alaska Cancer Center and the Alaska Native Medical Center. She is also the founder and former lead vocalist of a rock band made of gynecologic oncologists called “N.E.D.” (No Evidence of Disease), which is committed to raising awareness for gynecologic cancers.