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2019 National Race to End Women's Cancer

written by Thu Tran, MD,FACOG
on Monday, 4th November ,2019

This morning, my husband and I and several friends met at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. for our third 5K run/walk for National Race to End Women’s Cancer, to support the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.  Gynecologic cancers include Ovarian, Cervical, Endometrial/Uterine, Vulva and Vaginal Cancer.  According to the American Cancer Society statistics, there were 110,070 new cases diagnosed and 32,120 deaths from gynecologic cancers in 2018.

It was a perfect setting for running, with a sunny blue sky, 40 degree weather, surrounded by family, friends and colleagues.  For what else could a runner like me have asked?  We were running on the same day as the New York Marathon, at almost 1/8 the distance of a marathon.  Like the NY Marathon runners, we were running not for nothing’s sake.  We were running or walking for a cause, and in our case, to raise awareness and funding for gynecologic cancer research.  

A  study published early this year in the Gynecologic Oncology Journal, from University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Medicine, showed the disparity in funding allocations by the National Cancer Institute for gynecologic cancer research.  The trend has persisted that funding to the three major gynecologic cancers has been decreasing over time.  Ovarian, Cervical and Uterine cancers ranked 10th, 12th, and 14th for average funding to Lethality Scores.  The highest average funding to Lethality score was for Prostate cancer.  In U.S. dollars per incident cases, for example, Prostate cancer received an average of $1,821,000 per person-years of life cost, as compared to $97,000 for Ovarian cancer, $87,000 for Cervical Cancer, and $57,000 for Uterine cancer.

We need to raise public awareness that appropriate funding for gynecologic cancer research would save many lives.  It is time for policy makers to realize women with deadly gynecologic cancers, such as Ovarian cancer, want to live a long, healthy life, as much as men with Prostate cancer.  We all need to fight for the lives of numerous grandmothers, wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, and women friends who die of these gynecologic cancers yearly.

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