Press Release: The Gynecologic Cancer Foundations Marks September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month By Stressing the Importance of Clinical Trial

Chicago, September 1, 2010 —The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) urges women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer-cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer—to learn more about clinical trials. This message is being highlighted during September, Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. GCF first declared September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in 1999.

This year GCF is encouraging women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer to consider enrollment in a clinical trial when appropriate.

In the last half century, great progress has been made in the prevention and treatment of disease, including cancers unique to women. Clinical trials play a critical role in the discovery process that has led to these improvements.

Several recent examples of clinical trial results demonstrate the importance of clinical trials to women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer:

  • Chemotherapy added to radiation improves cure rates in locally advanced cervical cancer. (GOG 120, 109)
  • Platinum based chemotherapy plus paclitaxel is superior to
  • platinum based chemotherapy plus cyclophosphamide. (GOG 111)
  • IP therapy improves survival in subsets of women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer. (GOG 172)

Despite the despite the fact that clinical trials improve care for cancer patients, only about three percent of adults participate in clinical trials. This rate is even lower among low income, and racial and ethnic minority groups. This is especially troubling since members of these groups tend to have higher cancer mortality rates than the population as a whole.

Women who participate in a clinical trial receive state of the art care which may be above the current standard of care. Plus there is on-going monitoring of all women on clinical trials and time allowed to talk with the clinical trial team about any questions or concerns.

“Women who have chosen to participate in clinical trials tell us that one of the reasons they decided to participate was the hope that they could help other women in the future,” said Dr. David M. Gershenson, GCF Chairman. “It also made them feel that they were taking active steps to improve their treatment and outcome.”

GCF works closely with many partners who promote clinical trial participation and groups that conduct clinical trials, like the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG). GCF has a dedicated section of its award-winning Web site, the Women’s Cancer Network (www.wcn.org) that describes the clinical trials currently enrolling women by GOG, one of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) funded cooperative cancer research group—and the only group focusing solely on women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer.

The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF) was established by the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO) in 1991. GCF’s mission, in concert with SGO, is to support research, education and public awareness of gynecologic cancer prevention, early diagnosis and optimal treatment. GCF advances this mission by increasing public funding to aid in the development and implementation of programs to meet these goals.

Spotlight

Visit the Sisterhood of Survivorship page to read “Dena’s Story” — by a vulvar cancer survivor who has shared her story and wise words, and channeled her energy into her National Race to End Women’s Cancer team.

Awareness

The CDC recently announced that fewer than half of American children are given the HPV vaccination.

Research

As of the July 23 deadline, 55 research abstracts were submitted in hopes of receiving one of only 6 grants from the Foundation. This points to a need for more funding so that the Foundation may award grants to every deserving applicant.

Education

The Gynecologic Cancer Global Health Forum will be Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in D.C.. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.