Let’s Talk About Below-the-Belt Cancers

When the calendar turns to September, it’s a good reason for anyone touched by gynecological cancer to share their story because September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month (GCAM).

For those of us in the Cervivor community, September is a significant opportunity to pull out our advocacy boots (and dust them off if they haven’t been used in a while), put below-the-belt cancers in the spotlight, and pick up our momentum to carry us through the remainder of the year. 

Why is GCAM so important?

  • Late-stage cervical cancer is being diagnosed at higher rates in the United States. Historically, cervical cancer has disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic women. In this study, the overall prevalence of the disease was higher in Black women and there is a large increase in diagnoses for Non-Hispanic White women (CNN).
  • Uterine cancers are on the rise, especially in Black women. It is quickly making its way to becoming the third most common type of cancer among women (NY Times).
  • Fertility and quality of life are still impacting those diagnosed with gynecologic cancers (Oncology Nurse Advisor).
  • Intersectionalities in sexual orientation as well as race and ethnicity show significantly lower odds of undergoing routine cervical cancer screenings (Health Day).
  • Reducing social detriments can improve quality of life, increase survival rates, and close the gap in racial disparities (ASCO Post).

We know there are so many more to list which is why Cervivor continues to be actively engaged in gynecologic cancer awareness. We’re committed to sharing our stories, spreading awareness, and showing the people impacted by gynecologic cancers. We’re facing these disparities head-on!

How can you get involved this GCAM?

  • Share Cervivor content during GCAM. We will have plenty of graphics, articles, and other resources to share with your social media network, across all platforms. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.
  • Wear Teal and White on #TealandWhiteTuesday. Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and post your photos in the comment of our Facebook posts!

  • Share your Cervivor Story. Have you shared your story with us on Cervivor.org? Sharing your story on our site is a powerful tool for getting your story out there. Our template guides you with questions, to help you share your cervical cancer story in a way that is personal to you. You can share as little or as much as you like. Once you have submitted your story and it is published, you will be able to share the link with others. Need help getting started? Send us an email at info@cervivor.org!

  • Contact local media to share your Cervivor story. Many times, local news stations, newspapers, and neighborhood publications are looking for content. Reach out to them and share your story. If your story is on Cervivor.org, share the link with them when you reach out.

  • Host a Cervivor Meet-Up. Meet-Ups are local gatherings of Cervivors, networking and sharing in a social environment. You can hold a Cervivor Meet-Up in a coffee shop, restaurant, bar, or anywhere you feel is a welcoming and relaxed place for Cervivors to talk and share. If you’re interested in hosting a Cervivor Meet-Up in your area, contact us at info@cervivor.org. *Cervivor recommends following the latest CDC recommendations for any gatherings.*

  • Become a Partner in Purpose. From care team to community member, your role in cervical cancer awareness, treatment, support, and prevention is of the utmost importance to us. Interested? Sign up here.

  • Donate to Cervivor or host a fundraiser on behalf of Cervivor.

We look forward to a successful GCAM and can’t wait to see how our Cervivor Community comes together to bring awareness to gynecologic cancers!

That’s a Wrap!

Can you believe tomorrow is October 1? We can’t either! We have had such an amazing GCAM that we’re not sure we are ready for it to end! It has been an incredible month of advocacy and awareness here at Cervivor. Our community has been absolutely on fire with everything from table events and Cervivor School, to Capitol Hill meetings. We are so proud of all our Ambassadors have accomplished this month. Check it out!

Sarah at Athena’s Run

Cervivor kicked off Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month events with Athena’s Run in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Cervivor Ambassador, Sarah Nielsen, generously hosted a table again this year for the expo. She provided their running community with info about cervical cancer prevention, screening, and of course Cervivor! We were also honored to be asked to be part of the Coming Full Circle Health Fair in New York, NY again! We love this event focused on health information and resources for the community in NYC. Ambassador, Vanessa Santiago, hosted a table and represented Cervivor, as she was able to share about HPV and cervical cancer.

Planting seeds year-round for events during awareness months is an important part of advocacy and something our community strives for. Kristine Sprigler has built a wonderful partnership with UPS and this GCAM was asked to host another Cervivor table at the UPS Employee Night Shift Health Fair! What a great way to advocate and get the word out! Paulette Apostolou is another Ambassador who has cultivated a partnership with her care team and area doctors over the years. This month she hosted a table at the University of Chicago for the Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Day for gyn cancer survivors. She has gone from patient to advocate right in her local community!

Kristine (left) on Capitol Hill

GCAM didn’t stop there. When Kristine wasn’t hosting table events she and Cervivor Ambassador Mary Baker were working with partner organizations, American Cancer Society and the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, to advocate for cervical cancer awareness, prevention, and gynecologic cancer research on Capitol Hill. Mary also participated and shared her Cervivor story as part of the Virginia HPV Leadership Summit at VCU. We are so proud! Way to go Mary and Kristine!

We closed out GCAM with a bang at Cervivor School Massachusetts. Our keynote speaker was the dynamic Nancy G. Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen®. She has dedicated her life’s work to changing the narrative of breast cancer and bringing global awareness to women’s health. She found great inspiration with Cervivor and our stories touched her.

Cervivor School attendees with Nancy Brinker

Other fantastic speakers like Roshanda Pratt, who motivated everyone to find their why, and Dana D’Alessandro Haseotes who talked about our sexual health after cancer. We also met Laura Brennan, our International Cervivor Spotlight from Ireland, who shared how her one voice is making a huge impact in educating her country on the importance of the HPV vaccine. Laura brought her joy, passion and incredible advocacy voice to our weekend.  Rounding out the weekend were Chi Bahk who spoke about social media & vaccine confidence, as well as Jennifer Sienko with the National HPV Roundtable who dug deep on how we as advocates can respond with confidence to all things HPV. We began each day with Cervivor Wellness Instructor, Patti Murillo-Casa. Patti gave us a preview of the Survivor Slimdown project and inspired us to begin each day with movement and gratitude. The new attendees found their advocacy groove, new friendships, and left knowing that Cervivor support comes while we are in action. Cervivor is a movement and we are making a difference!

Cervivor School fun!

Cervivor is so thankful for such a productive GCAM. We have just enough time to catch our breath and start planning for CCAM in January! Stay tuned! Please make sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media, to get the latest and greatest from our Cervivor Community.

Team Cervivor