SGO Issues September 5, 2013
SGO promotes risk reduction during Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
State of the Art features international GTD experts
Voices: HVO team treats cancer patients in Paraguay
Inaugural #gyncsm Tweetchat on Sept. 11
Oct. 15 deadline for Foundation/Research Institute grant awards
2014 Annual Meeting Request for Abstracts
Register now for SGO State of the Art 2013
Allied Workshop Oct. 12 in Nashville
Women’s Cancer News
During September–Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month–SGO is recommending that women take several steps to reduce their risk for gynecologic cancers: 1) know their family history and consult with a genetic counselor for genetic testing if necessary; 2) watch their weight to reduce their risk of endometrial cancer; 3) get girls and boys vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV); and 4) seek a specialist in gynecologic oncology.
Kristin Zorn, MD, director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, AR, was interviewed by KARK Channel 4 in Little Rock this week to discuss how women can detect gynecologic cancers—particularly cervical cancer—at an early stage. Members who have been interviewed for GCAM this month can share this news with other members by informing SGO communications at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2013 State of the Art Conference will be held on Friday, Sept. 20, in Chicago, IL, at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine at the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. The one-day course will take place in conjunction with the International Society for the Study of Trophoblastic Diseases (ISSTD) World Congress XVII meeting. John Lurain, MD, Marcia Stenn Professor of Gynecologic Oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine and president-elect of the ISSTD, says he is looking forward to having experts from around the world talk about Gestational Trophoblastic Diseases and present an overview of the epidemiology, incidence and management of these diseases for gynecologic oncologists.
“SGO is looking for a volunteer radiation oncologist to travel with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) to Paraguay”
I read this e-mail with my morning coffee and within hours had volunteered. I have been interested for several years in the challenges of providing radiation oncology services (capital and resource intensive) in middle- and low-resource countries, and considered this to be a unique opportunity.
My overriding impression of the visit is the graciousness and hospitality of our hosts. We were all met individually at the airport, and in my case, late at night. Each evening was a dinner or reception; on two evenings we were invited to our hosts’ homes. The national dish is asado, or wood-fired barbeque, served with yucca and chipa guasu, a local version of a corn cake. Future female volunteers take note: you should bring clothes for socializing in addition to work clothes.
Our team consisted of Charles M. Balch, MD, FACS, a surgical oncologist; Linus T. Chuang, MD, a gynecologic oncologist, and myself, a radiation oncologist. The original HVO group had visited in October 2012 and, based on the site’s focus on breast and cervix cancer, decided the team composition. Dr. Duarte, a surgical oncologist at the NCI Paraguay, initiated the HVO mission. Throughout the visit our hosts demonstrated their commitment to improving cancer care for the people of Paraguay. They were active participants in all our activities and discussions.
Our site was NCI Paraguay, the only cancer center in a country of 6 million people. It is a 200-bed hospital about 20 miles outside Asunción in Capiata, a location that is not convenient for the physicians or the patients. The most common cancer is cervical cancer followed by breast cancer. Patients are a decade younger than patients with similar cancer in North America and often present with advanced disease.
The number one priority determined at the first HVO visit was to improve access to care, develop treatment guidelines and improve timely treatment of cervix cancer patients. A weekly multidisciplinary clinic and tumor board was set up and a plan was put in place to collect patients’ demographics and treatment information and present the data during our visit. After touring the facility and meeting with our local colleagues, we participated in the weekly cervix cancer clinic and on our second day, attended the presentation of the cervix cancer demographics, stage, treatment and treatment delays, from the previous eight months. This was a landmark event, since this data has never been previously collected.
During our visit the President of Paraguay, Federico Franco, and the Minister of Health visited the cancer center and discussed their commitment to cancer care and announced the purchase of a new linear accelerator, new CT, and high dose rate brachytherapy system.
The radiation oncology department has one single photon energy linear accelerator (LA), which treats 90 to 100 patients a day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Low dose rate brachytherapy is done two to three days per week. There are delays in starting patients on treatment because of delays in imaging and work up as well as lack of access to the LA. The government has committed to purchasing an additional modern LA and has already purchased and installed a high dose rate brachytherapy delivery system. Staff training was started during my visit.
Our third day was focused on breast cancer. We had a marathon tumor board with case presentations and interactive discussion combined with an assessment and recommendations for improving breast cancer care and reducing treatment delays.
A case was discussed concerning an 18-year-old female who presented with breast cancer and the challenges involved in her care. When the discussion ended the nurse went to the door and brought in a lovely young woman and introduced the patient we had been talking about: “And this is Daisy.” This brought home the personal aspect of cancer care, the impact our interventions can have on a life.
Geraldine Jacobson, MD, MPH, MBA, is the Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at West Virginia University. She graduated from medical school at the University of Utah. She completed her radiation oncology residency at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, obtained a Master in Public Health from University of South Florida in Tampa and an executive MBA from University of Chicago. She lives in Morgantown with her husband and enjoys swimming, biking, reading, and travel.
HVO volunteer opportunity
An oncology nurse is needed for the week of Oct 7, 2013, to take part in a team visit to Paraguay. Contact the HVO program department for more information.
A new gynecologic cancer community on Twitter will be hosting its first Tweetchat on Sept. 11, 2013, at 9 p.m. EST. The Twitter account @gyncsm and the hashtag #gyncsm (gynecologic cancer social media) will be used for this online community of patients, survivors and families impacted by gynecologic cancers. The monthly chats, which will take will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 9 p.m. EST, will be moderated by patient advocates as well as three SGO members: gynecologic oncologist Richard M. Boulay, MD, and medical oncologists Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, and Merry J. Markham, MD.
Each month’s chat will have a specific discussion topic. The moderators will share links that relate to the chosen topic and initiate the online discussion with three questions or comments. Anyone wishing to read along or participate in the Tweetchat may do so by using their Twitter account to follow #gyncsm at the scheduled time, or follow #gyncsm through Tweetchat.com, which enables users to monitor and chat about one topic. A detailed explanation about Twitter etiquette and the format of the Tweetchat is available through the Women of Teal blog by co-moderator Dee Sparacio, who also writes for the SGO Voices blog.
The Oct. 15, 2013, deadline is approaching for two research grants through the SGO’s Foundation for Gynecologic Oncology: The Wilma Williams Education and Clinical Research Award for Endometrial Cancer, and the Improving Outcomes in Gynecologic Oncology Patients Research and Education Award. Winners will be notified by Dec. 2, 2013.
The Request for Abstracts for the 2014 SGO Annual Meeting in Tampa, FL, closes on Sept. 18, 2013. Submit here.
State of the Art Conference/International Society for the Study of Trophoblastic Diseases (ISSTD) World Congress XVII: Sept. 20-23, 2013, in Chicago, IL. Register here.
SGO’s Allied Health Professionals Workshop: Optimizing Endometrial Cancer Care, will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Nashville, TN. This educational workshop is open to advanced practice providers or nurse clinicians who want to learn more about endometrial cancer care.
Read the latest edition of Women’s Cancer News.