When I became SGO President in 2013, I expressed my desire to make cancer prevention a goal for the Society this past year. The SGO Board of Directors concurred, and we identified three key areas on which to focus: Genetics, Obesity and the HPV vaccine.
In genetics, we developed a public position statement and clinical practice statements on genetic testing for ovarian cancer, screening for Lynch syndrome in endometrial cancer, and the use of gene panels versus gene-by-gene testing.
I am pleased to announce the release of SGO’s Obesity Toolkit for members, family physicians and patients. The kit, which will be available at the SGO Booth at our 45th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Tampa March 22-25 and online after the meeting, advises members on timely and effective ways to discuss the importance of weight loss in the prevention of endometrial cancer. Other materials help educate and inform family physicians and patients about the strength of evidence linking obesity and endometrial cancer. The toolkit also includes resources for members and family physicians to give patients to encourage healthy lifestyles through exercise and nutrition. In addition, a special session at this year’s Annual Meeting will feature top obesity research, and our journal, Gynecologic Oncology, will publish a special issue on the topic in April.
SGO this year actively promoted HPV vaccination for girls and boys. The Society worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide speakers at events for family physicians. We produced a position statement emphasizing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. The Hill, an influential publication among federal legislators and policymakers in Washington, DC, published our editorial, “Is Protecting Children Against Cancer Un-American?” And SGO is now leading a multi-organizational task force to develop a clinical guidance document for primary HPV screening.
Clearly, we have made great strides in the first year of our prevention initiatives. Because it is not possible to change behaviors overnight, SGO has made a long-term commitment to raising awareness of these important preventive measures. Historically as a Society we have, rightfully, focused on treatment. These prevention initiatives open new avenues for collaboration, education, clinical practice and public awareness to accomplish our vision to eradicate gynecologic cancers.
I am proud of the volunteers on the Prevention Task Force and the Communications, Clinical Practice and Education committees who led these efforts. You, too, can contribute by attending our “Mad about Cancer Care” social event at the Annual Meeting on March 23 to raise funds for research, including projects in prevention. Lastly, I strongly encourage you to attend the Open Forum on March 24. A nationally known expert on accountable care, Harold Miller, will explain the implications of the Affordable Care Act, how it will affect members’ practices and what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve you this year, and I hope to see you in Tampa.
Barbara A. Goff, MD