The Foundation for Women’s Cancer has observed the month of September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month (GACM) since 1999. Every year, the emphasis is on reaching out to women who have not been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and creating awareness among them about prevention strategies and screening for early detection of the condition. This year the Foundation’s focus is to create awareness among women about uterine/endometrial cancer, the most common gynecologic cancer. The aim is also to help women understand the link between obesity and endometrial cancer. This is the time for women to
- LEARN about the risk factors and symptoms of uterine/endometrial cancer
- LISTEN to their body for symptoms, and
- ACT to reduce the risk with weight management and other strategies, and consulting a gynecologic oncologist if diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer or suspect the condition
The risk factors for uterine/endometrial cancer include conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, as well as family history, genetic disposition and the use of tamoxifen. Women should pay attention to abnormal vaginal bleeding and bleeding after menopause which are the symptoms associated with this cancer type. Biopsy of the endometrium is important with any of these symptoms.
According to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, with over 52,600 women diagnosed each year, uterine cancer, mostly endometrial cancer, is the fourth most common cause of cancer in women in the United States.
Gynecological cancer is preventable with regular screening and follow-up. However, while the Pap smear and HPV test can help in the early detection of cervical cancer, there is no screening test for endometrial cancer. For improved outcomes, it’s important to identify those at increased risk for endometrial cancer and to counsel all women on symptoms and measures to reduce risks.
The National Race to End Women’s Cancer will be held on November 2, 2014 in Washington, D.C. with the aim to unite to raise awareness and research funding on behalf of all women who have been diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, and to honor those who have lost their lives to these diseases. To register and join the race, visit endwomenscancer.org.