On Sept. 20, the European Network of Gynaecological Cancer Advocacy Groups (ENGAGe) and the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO) presented the first World Gynecologic Oncology Day (World GO Day).
Spearheaded by ENGAGe, the initiative, set to occur annually, aims to promote collaboration among patient groups, strengthen local advocacy activities, and provide an engagement platform. The campaign is called “GO for Awareness, Action, Hope, Life.”
The main objective is to raise awareness of the impact ovarian and other gynecological cancers have on patients and caregivers, and of unmet needs in disease management. Another goal is to mobilize stakeholders to advocate for better outcomes through early diagnoses, family risk factors, and a holistic approach to patient care.
Last year, 1.3 million women globally were diagnosed with such cancers, including cervical, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar in addition to ovarian. Each year, gynecological cancers affect some 71,500 women in the United States alone.
“Ovarian, uterine, cervix, and other gynecological cancers are among the most common cancers affecting women, but collectively attract less attention than they deserve from the public and policymakers,” states the World GO Day website.
“Women themselves may be unaware of the sometimes-vague symptoms, or may be too embarrassed to consult a doctor, and there remains a stigma associated with these diagnoses in some quarters. This reticence needs to be overcome and a more positive message developed to improve the prevention, screening, treatment and care of gynecological cancers,” the website states.
This year, roughly 22,530 women in the United States will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer, most of them high-grade serous cancers (HGSC). Ovarian cancer accounts for 2.5 percent of malignancies in women and 5 percent of cancer deaths. Because 59 percent of patients are diagnosed when the disease is advanced, ovarian cancer causes more deaths than all gynecological cancers.
Europe in general has one of the world’s highest incidences of ovarian cancer, but rates are highest in eastern and northern Europe and lowest in southern Europe.
Using the hashtags #Gofor and #WorldGOday, more than 50 advocacy groups in more than 20 countries, including Denmark, the Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey, Finland, Serbia, Sweden, the United States, Kazakhstan, Poland, Austria, and others participated in events Sept. 20. To mark the launch of World GO Day, and using the slogan “A Game Against Cancer,” sports activities took place.
“We believe that the initiative of the World GO Day will encourage women to take action, reinforce the local activities, and increase awareness among women for prevention, diagnosis, and the best treatment options,” Esra Urkmez, ENGAGe co-chair, said in a news release. “ENGAGe calls for women to act now for a healthier life.”
Go here to learn more about warning signs and ways to reduce risks of gynecological cancers.
Established in 2011, ENGAGe is an ESGO network of European patient advocacy groups representing all gynecological cancers, including ovarian. ESGO is a Europe-wide society of healthcare professionals and researchers specializing in the study, prevention, treatment, and care of gynecological cancers.