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Make a Difference During Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month

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September marks Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. At the heart of my presidential initiative is the effort to improve preventive care, which is critical to decreasing the risk of developing gynecological cancer. Preventing, treating, and raising awareness of gynecological cancers is critical to improving women’s health—and, therefore, should be an essential part of health care. This blog includes some of the ways in which you can get involved in efforts to prevent, treat, and spread knowledge of gynecological cancers in the medical community and on behalf of your patients. 

Advocacy

ACOG is a sponsor of Move4Her, a virtual run hosted by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. This one-hour virtual and interactive walking and movement event will raise funds for awareness, education, outreach, and research of gynecologic cancers. Come together as part of a community in support of women’s health to honor patients, survivors, families, physicians, and researchers and raise funds for prevention, treatment, and awareness of gynecologic cancers. Participate in the event and consider donating if you can!

ACOG is engaged in vigorous advocacy to enhance research and treatment around gynecologic cancers. In March, one of our chief asks for the Congressional Leadership Conference, the President’s Conference, was to encourage the NIH to prioritize funding for women's health research, including addressing our country's stagnant cervical cancer rates. We are pleased that our request was included in the House Committee on Appropriations' report in July, signaling that policy makers heard our call for increased attention on women's health research. This request is critical to addressing a host of urgent women’s health issues, including stagnant cervical cancer survival rates. ACOG is also an active member of the Women First Research Coalition’s steering committee, which works to advocate for critical women's health research. 

To learn about how you can get involved in ACOG advocacy and make your voice heard on women’s health issues, contact your members of Congress, your Section or District legislative chair, or ACOG’s Government Affairs department at govtrel@acog.org

Clinical Care

HPV vaccination can be key to preventing gynecological cancers, as it protects against the types of HPV that are the most common cause of cancer. Educating your patients on the benefits of HPV vaccination and encouraging them to consider getting vaccinated against HPV can help raise awareness and contribute to prevention of cervical cancers. ACOG’s HPV FAQ page is a great resource for physicians and patients.

Multiple studies have provided evidence that use of combined hormonal methods of contraception can decrease risk of cancer of the uterus, ovary, and colon. Another opportunity is in identifying patients at high risk for deleterious mutation when obtaining a thorough family and personal history. Risk-reducing strategies for these patients may not only save lives but also prevent passage of the mutation to the next generation with preimplantation genetic assessment. Obesity is also a major risk factor for uterine, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers, amongst a number of other malignancies. Obesity rates amongst U.S. adults continue to rise. As the only specialty specifically dedicated to caring for women, we must take advantage of ACOG’s resources on obesity and its treatment to educate our patients about and help them address this important health issue. Personalizing preventive health care for each patient can contribute immensely to decreasing your patients’ risk of gynecologic cancers. 

As a gynecologic oncologist, preventing, treating, and spreading awareness of gynecologic cancers is something I’m passionate about. Preventive care is critical to decreasing the risk of gynecological cancers, and that’s why it’s at the heart of my presidential initiative as well. Please take some time this month to consider how you can take steps to educate your patients about gynecologic cancers, spread awareness among your patients and colleagues, and help reduce the risk of gynecologic cancers.