SGO Issues March 18, 2013

SGO Issues March 18, 2013

ACOG statement on robotic surgeries
Dr. Ronald Alvarez encourages SGO members to ‘embrace change’ during presidential address
Foundation launches Legacy Society Donor Program
National media shines spotlight on importance of gynecologic oncology
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel ‘optimistic’ about health care reform
ACS lecturer Dr. Edward Partridge says ACA only part of solution to health care disparities
One Team One Goal Champion Award winners recognized at Foundation Gala
SGO member bloggers report on Annual Meeting
In the News

ACOG statement on robotic surgeries

The American Congress on Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on March 14, 2013, issued a statement on robotic surgery, asserting that robotic surgery is not the only or the best minimally invasive approach for hysterectomy, nor is it the most cost-efficient.  The Society of Gynecologic Oncology does not disagree with ACOG’s statement in the setting of straightforward gynecologic surgery. SGO agrees that for more complex surgery, including gynecologic malignancy, that robotic surgery may offer advantages. Our Society has addressed this issue in a consensus statement which was published in Gynecologic Oncology in October 2011: “Robotic-assisted surgery in gynecologic oncology: A Society of Gynecologic Oncology consensus statement developed by the Society’s Clinical Practice Robotics Task Force.”

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Dr. Ronald Alvarez encourages SGO members to ‘embrace change’ during presidential address

The 44th SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer in Los Angeles attracted 1,688 attendees, making it one of the best attended Annual Meetings to date.

During his presidential address on March 11, outgoing SGO president Ronald D. Alvarez, MD, Professor and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), acknowledged that SGO members have experienced a “landslide of changes” within SGO as well as the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology, and he encouraged members to embrace these changes as health care reform is implemented in the United States.

“We have implemented clinical innovations in imaging, minimally invasive surgery, targeted therapeutics and supportive care that has revolutionized how we practice,” said Dr. Alvarez. “Undoubtedly we will continue to see new discoveries and innovations that will lead to improvements in cancer prevention and care. How as a Society are we going to rapidly integrate these innovations and how can we do so in the most cost-effective manner?”

Dr. Alvarez was one of several speakers at the conference who addressed the impact that the Affordable Care Act will have on the health care system as well as the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology. SGO has developed a consensus statement with examples of better modes to deliver quality care, better ways to define and measure quality care, and better reimbursement plans to bring about higher quality, cost-effective care. SGO and its Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology will be at the forefront of efforts to ensure that “care to gynecologic cancer patients be delivered by those best trained and most experienced to do so,” he said.

Click on the video link to hear more from Dr. Alvarez.

Foundation launches Legacy Society Donor Program

James Orr, Jr., MD, FACOG, FACS, Director of Florida Gynecologic Oncology Regional Cancer Center in Fort Myers, FL, issued a challenge to his fellow SGO members: He and his wife Vicki Orr pledged $100,000 to the SGO Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology Outcomes Research Institute for endometrial cancer research , and pledged an additional $150,000 in matching funds until the 2015 SGO Annual Meeting for unrestricted donations of $5,000 or more to the Foundation’s newly formed Legacy Society Donor Program.

The Legacy Society was created in memory of Ms. Orr’s mother, Wilma Williams. “My mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 uterine cancer when she was 48 years old, and she lived 14 years with the disease, and finally she lost her life at age 62,” she said. “So it’s very important for us to continue research to help other women going forward so that they can live long healthy lives.”

“This visionary initiative will position the Society to take control of our future by defining the quality measures for the field of gynecologic oncology care before measures are imposed,” Dr. Orr said in a statement about the Legacy Society. “As a result, our Society will be empowered with greater influence through evidence-based data that highlights the exceptional care delivered by SGO members and how this level of care improves a patient’s quality of life.”

Click on the video link to hear more from Dr. Orr and Vicki Orr about the Legacy Society.

Read Vicki Orr’s statement about the Legacy Society, first delivered at the SGO Presidents Reception during the SGO Annual Meeting on March 8, 2013.

National media shines spotlight on importance of gynecologic oncology

The New York Times set in motion a wave of national media coverage with its March 12 story on a study presented by lead author Robert E. Bristow, MD, Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center, about flaws in ovarian cancer care. The study found that women are 30 percent less likely to die of ovarian cancer if they have guideline-recommended treatment, yet nearly two-thirds of those with the disease do not receive it, often because they are cared for at hospitals that treat a small number of ovarian cancer patients.  Major media who followed up on the story included NBC News, CBS Morning News, ABC’s America This Morning and Public Radio International, among others. The New York Times also published a related editorial on inadequate treatment of ovarian cancer two days later.

Another presentation from the Annual Meeting that received significant media coverage is a study that analyzed long-term follow-up from two landmark Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) trials, which found that women who receive intraperitoneal therapy for advanced ovarian cancer are more likely to live longer than those who receive standard intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. The study’s lead author was Devansu Tewari, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group in Orange County, Calif., of Kaiser Permanente. The story has been covered by US News and World Report, Oncology Times, Medscape, Reuters Health and other media outlets.  For more coverage of the Annual Meeting, see In the News Below.

Click on the video link to hear Dr. Tewari discuss the importance of gynecologic cancer patients knowing their treatment options.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel ‘optimistic’ about health care reform

Breast oncologist and author Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, this year’s Presidential Invited Speaker at the Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, said he is optimistic about the long-term effects of health care reform. As one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Dr. Emanuel noted during his presentation on “Health Care Reform and the Future of American Medicine” that the United States has been trying to control health care costs for over 100 years.

“In 2012 the United States spent over $2.87 trillion on health care,” Dr. Emanuel said. “The US spends more in health care than the entire French economy…Health care spending in the US is the 17th largest ‘economy’ in the world.”

Dr. Emanuel addressed the upcoming impact of the ACA and the end of the currently fragmented health care system in an interview with SGO before his presentation at the Annual Meeting.

“While there is a lot of uncertainty we can also be quite confident that we are going to see significant improvement for our patients, significant improvement, I believe, for the autonomy of doctors, and quality of care,” he said. “And so I think on the whole, it’s a very optimistic note.”

For more comments from Dr. Emanuel’s interview, click on the video link.

ACS lecturer Dr. Edward Partridge says ACA only part of solution to health care disparities

This year’s American Cancer Society lecturer Edward E. Partridge, MD, who currently serves as Director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Comprehensive Cancer Center, noted that while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increased access to health insurance has the potential to reduce health care disparities, patients with low education and low income may still experience a gap in treatment outcomes.

“There’s clearly a difference in outcome between those individuals who have cancer and have insurance versus those that do not,” said Dr. Partridge. “As the Act is implemented over the next three or four years, that barrier goes away theoretically. That is, the barrier is no longer insurance, but, we do know that even with that, even with insurance, you still have to have special programs for those individuals with low income and with low education.”

Dr. Partridge is one of the leading experts in the country on health care disparities, and as the Principal Investigator of the Deep South Network for Cancer Control, he has worked to improve the cancer health status of the African-American population in the rural South. After making his presentation on “Our Failure to Deliver,” at the SGO Annual Meeting, Dr. Partridge discussed how the SGO needs to be at the forefront of addressing the more far reaching societal problems that contribute to these health care disparities.

Click on the video link to hear more from Dr. Partridge about closing the gap on health care disparities and reducing the overall rate of cancer deaths.

One Team One Goal Champion Award winners recognized at Foundation Gala

For the first time at an Annual Meeting, SGO’s international partners were recognized with the One Team One Goal Champion Awards at the second annual Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology Celebration Gala. Last year SGO joined the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and One Team One Goal is SGO’s worldwide coalition-building campaign that unites all gynecologic oncology practice and advocacy groups in signing and supporting the UICC World Cancer Declaration.

SGO and Foundation President Ronald D. Alvarez, MD, presented the One Team One Goal Champion Awards to the following individuals and organizations that best reflect One Team One Goal’s mission of leadership and collaboration:

  • Brazil’s Associação do Combate ao Câncer do Centro Oeste de Minas (ACCCOM) received the One Team One Goal Advocacy Champion for South America. ACCCOM was founded in 1995 and its mission is to provide prevention, treatment and care for cancer patients and their families in the Alto San Francisco region of Brazil. Angelica Rodrigues, MD, PhD, of the Brazilian Cancer Institute joined SGO two years ago and has single-handedly launched the South American One Team One Goal campaign with ACCCOM in Brazil.
  • The One Team One Goal Advocacy Champion for Europe went to two uterine cancer survivors from the United Kingdom. Kaz Molloy and Debra Parry represent Womb Cancer Support UK, which offers support to women with uterine (womb) cancer and seeks to raise awareness about the disease.
  • Womb Cancer Support UK’s “Peach Sister” in the United States is Alicia Curry, a 29-year-old uterine cancer survivor who founded Uterine Cancer Awareness in Memphis, TN. For her efforts, Curry was awarded the One Team One Goal Advocacy Champion for North America.
  • SGO awarded the One Team One Goal Practice Champion to the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) for their work on behalf of women who are diagnosed with and treated for gynecologic cancers.

SGO presented additional awards during the opening ceremony of the 44th Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. Award recipients were recognized for their contributions in the areas of science, innovation, humanitarianism, and public service. Read more about these awards in the official press release.

SGO member bloggers report on Annual Meeting

Several member bloggers for sgo.org submitted their impressions of what it’s like to be an attendee at the SGO Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. From networking with their colleagues to listening to presentations from the invited guest speakers, SGO’s bloggers covered the Annual Meeting before and during the event.

In the News

Here is just a sampling of SGO Annual Meeting News Coverage, in addition to the major national news coverage highlighted above.