PRESS RELEASE: Cervivor Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder Invited to Share Opening Remarks for First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden and the American Cancer Society’s Launch of The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Roundtables

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In February 2022, the American Cancer Society announced they would be launching two national roundtables: one for cervical cancer and the other for breast cancer. This was a response to President Biden’s call to action in reducing cancer incidence and death rates faster. This initiative is to bring together leading organizations and experts in the cervical and breast cancer space to drive progress and improve the lives of cancer patients, as well as their families.

The objectives of the national roundtables align with the President’s Cancer Panel’s report Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening: Connecting People, Communities, and Systems to Improve Equity and Access

The report addresses the need to:

  • Improve and Align Communication: Develop effective communications about cancer screening that reach all populations; and expand and strengthen National Cancer Roundtables that include a focus on cancer screening.
  • Facilitate Equitable Access: Barriers contribute to lower rates of cancer screening initiation and the recommended follow-up observed among many populations in the United States; there is a need to provide and sustainably fund community-oriented outreach and support services to promote appropriate screening and follow-up care plus increase access to self-sampling for cancer screening.
  • Strengthen Workforce Collaborations: Team-based care has the potential to improve implementation of cancer screening but in order to accomplish this, supportive policies and a commitment to team-based care approaches are needed which include the empowerment of healthcare team members to support screening plus having the opportunity for training and residency programs; and expanding access to genetic testing and counseling for cancer risk assessments to catch cancer early.
  • Create effective health IT: Providers and patients alike are faced with more information than they can process in a reasonable amount of time. Health information technology (IT) has potential to help providers, patients, and healthcare systems quickly access and effectively use clinical knowledge and patient-specific data.

Cervivor Founder and Chief Visionary, Tamika Felder was invited to speak on behalf of cervical cancer patient advocates and their families to increase awareness, impact change, and work collectively towards eliminating cervical cancer. Tamika and Cervivor, Inc. have been long-standing influencers on the panel since 2003, helping to provide vision as well as patient stories. She shares, “For me it is personal. My legacy won’t be the lives that I bring into this world but the lives I will save.”

First Lady Jill Biden attends an American Cancer Society Roundtable event, Monday, October 24, 2022, in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Recording artist and cancer prevention advocate, Mary J. Blige shared the personal impact cancer has had on her family in recent years and why she has dedicated so much time to awareness. She phrases a key message, “I’ve dedicated time to making people understand their health is their wealth and urging them to make it a priority.”

American Cancer Society CEO, Dr. Karen Knudsen states, “We at the American Cancer Society represent all 1.9 million Americans that hear each year that they will have cancer and we are absolutely resonating with the goal of the Cancer Moonshot to end cancer as we know it.”

Dr. Karen Knudsen, Tamika Felder, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and Mary J. Blige

Dr. Knudsen also brings to light that breast cancer still remains to be the second leading cause of cancer death for women in this country and number one for Black and Latina women. 14,000+ women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and over 4,000 will die from the disease. Black and Latina women are again, impacted at nearly twice the rate as their Caucasian peers.

First Lady, Dr. Biden emphasizes there should be no woman left behind. There is an absolute need for collaborative efforts including the patient advocate voice because this impacts us all. The focus is to put patients and their families at the center of their cancer – from diagnosis to survivorship and we are rewriting the narrative of cancer.

“We don’t have to be afraid of cancer anymore!” 

We stand with the First Lady, the American Cancer Society, and so many more leading organizations. We are committed to this mission as we are reminded of the daily impact in our community of a cervical cancer diagnosis, the treatment and difficulties in survivorship, and of those lives that have been lost from a preventable disease.  

Watch the full livestream recording here.

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!