As fall quickly approaches, we find ourselves entering a month of profound significance for Cervivor and all those impacted by gynecologic cancers. September is not just another month; it’s Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness, educating, and advocating for those affected by gynecologic cancers. It’s a month where we come together to make our voices heard and support one another in our journey towards better health and well-being.
Did You Know?
Gynecologic cancers, which include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, impact the lives of thousands of women and individuals with female reproductive systems each year. The statistics may be alarming, but they underscore the importance of dedicating a month to raise awareness and promote early detection:
In the U.S. alone, an estimated 98,000 women will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer each year.
An astonishing 30,000 lives will be taken by the disease.
Gynecologic cancers are often diagnosed at advanced stages, making early detection crucial for improved outcomes.
Each of these cancers comes with its unique set of challenges, but they all share the common thread of affecting the lives of those we care about.
Our Role in Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
Cervivor plays a pivotal role in the fight against gynecologic cancers. We are not just a support network; we are a community that empowers survivors, advocates for change, and educates the public about the importance of prevention and early detection. Here’s how we’re making a difference:
Support and Empowerment: Cervivor provides a safe space for survivors to share their stories, connect with one another, and find solace in knowing they are not alone. Through our online platforms, events, and resources, we empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being.
Education and Awareness: Our organization is dedicated to spreading awareness about gynecologic cancers, with a special focus on cervical cancer. We offer educational resources, campaigns, and outreach initiatives to ensure that women and individuals are informed about the risks, prevention, and early detection methods.
Advocacy: Cervivor is at the forefront of advocating for policy changes and improved access to healthcare services. We work tirelessly to promote HPV vaccination, regular screenings, and equitable healthcare for all. Become a partner in purpose with Cervivor today!
How Can You Get Involved?
Share Your Story: Your story is a powerful tool for raising awareness. Share your journey, your triumphs, and your challenges on social media, using the hashtags: #GCAM, #Cervivor, #WeAreCervivor, #EndCervicalCancer.
Educate: Take the time to educate yourself and others about gynecologic cancers. Knowledge is the first step towards prevention and early detection.
Join Our Community: If you or someone you know has been affected by gynecologic cancer, join our community. Together, we can make a difference and support one another in our journeys.
As we progress through Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, let us remember that together, we are a powerful force for change. By raising our voices, sharing our stories, and supporting one another, we can make strides in the fight against gynecologic cancers. Thank you for being a part of the Cervivor community, and for standing with us in this important cause. Stay tuned for our upcoming events and activities throughout the month of September!
Imagine you are in the best shape of your life – all your hard work in all aspects of your life are paying off. You are living your best life. This was me on New Year’s Day 2017. Little did I know that all that work would make me stronger to fight what was soon to come.
January 2017 – I have an abnormal mammogram which turns into a biopsy that turns into a Stage 0 breast cancer diagnosis. Surgery occurs in April with radiation therapy until the beginning of June. I get through that with no issues and ready to get back to my “normal life”. With 3 radiation treatments left I was back to running. On a short run, I thought I was having UTI symptoms and went to an urgent care which lead to an ER visit that led to an advanced stage ovarian cancer diagnosis. You have got to be kidding. Lots of tests and appointments later – surgery and front line chemotherapy for 6 cycles to hopefully end in December.
All my friends are very supportive and amazing but they none have gone through anything like this. I am grateful for them every day. My active running (race) plans are totally sidelined including the New York City Marathon the 1st weekend in November. During this time I am a sponge trying to soak in all the information I can about ovarian cancer, treatment options, and trying to find a way to get back to my “normal life”. Instead of the NYC Marathon, I find the Gynecologic Cancer Survivor Course with The Foundation for Women’s Cancer that includes a 5k in DC that same weekend. A perfect distraction and an opportunity to learn more!
I arrive early to the seminar to pick out the best seat and maybe meet a few people. The people who sit at my table are lovely but serious and I don’t have a lot in common with them except for cancer. Then this high energy group of ladies walk into the room and sat down at the table next to me. My table didn’t have any empty seats and someone at the table had a friend still coming…perfect opportunity for me to change seats! I politely asked if I could join the ladies at the next table. They “warned” me that they were a rowdy bunch. (My thoughts were, PERFECT!) After introductions they treated me like one of the gang and I am sure that they were glad to have someone new with whom they could tell all their great stories. I learned so much not only from the sessions but from each of them and about their journeys. All of them are cervical cancer survivors from Cervivor! While they have all have/had setbacks, they are all positive and always looking for the future.
During this weekend, I had an unexplained issue with both of my Achilles tendons – I could barely walk at one point. (It was later determined I was having an extreme reaction to an antibiotic.) I was now going to miss the 5K which was very disappointing. My new friends kept my spirits up the entire time. We hung out and walked together at the 1 mile event. We had a great time and the weekend was a success. Good information and now some new friends who understand and share my attitude about living with cancer.We have kept in touch since through Facebook and even some live chats. I have shared some of my obstacles with them even before sharing them with my inner circle of close friends. They understand.
Me in the teal hat! Photo courtesy of the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.
I was entered again into the New York City Marathon for 2018. With my recurrence and chemo treatments, my training has been awful and I decided to not run the marathon again. While disappointed, it opened my schedule for that weekend. I am now looking forward to attending the 2018 Race to End Women’s Cancer and Gynecologic Cancer Education Course in DC. I can’t wait to learn new information, run a 5k, and hang out with “old friends.”
Maureen Bowen, a Raleigh NC resident, is a Sales Product Specialist at Net Health and has worked in the healthcare IT field for over 20 years. When she is not working, you are likely to find her on a race course somewhere across the country. She has completed over 160 half marathons (all 50 states twice), 27 marathons, and 8 ultra marathons (races ranging from 31-100 miles). If you see her on a race course near you, please make sure to say hello!