From OHC

September 12, 2019

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, and OHC, the region’s leading specialists in cancer and blood disorders, wants all women to realize they can be at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer.

OHC is encouraging all women to learn the preventative measures they can take to minimize their risk of developing a cancer of the female reproductive organs, as well as to recognize the signs and symptoms of these various cancers so the disease can be found early when treatment is most effective.

Many factors can play a role in the development of a gynecologic cancer. This includes aging, smoking, environmental conditions, the HPV virus and genes linked to these cancers that can be inherited.

Many cervical cancers and some cancers of the vagina and vulva are caused by the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. The development of an HPV vaccine is a significant advancement in the prevention of HPV-related cancers. The American Cancer Society recommends routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys should be started at age 11 or 12.

The vaccine was recently approved for women and men up to age 45, which is significant because we can capture more patients who missed this vaccination.

We also know that a genetic mutation can be passed along to family members. For example, if women in your family tree have had ovarian, cervical or breast cancer, it may be due to a mutation in a gene, and that mutation could be passed along to you. That’s where OHC can help through genetic testing and counseling.

OHC offers the Genetic Risk Evaluation and Testing (GREAT) program, which provides an in-depth cancer risk assessment for people who have a personal and/or family history of cancer. And, you do not have to be a patient of OHC to request this service.

Women should also be aware of the benefits of clinical trials and, if diagnosed with cancer, they should ask their doctor if a trial is available for their condition. Programs like OHC’s nationally-recognized clinical trials program, gives patients early access to the latest, most promising treatments.

OHC is currently offering a new clinical trial that is evaluating rucaparib (a targeted drug) in combination with nivolumab (an immunotherapy drug) for patients with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who haven’t responded to chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer is one of the most difficult to catch early, and this new treatment offers patients a new sense of hope.

Women should schedule annual screenings, such as Pap tests, and complete self-examinations, such as a breast self-exam, because they can detect some cancers in their early stages when treatment offers the best chance for a positive outcome.

We shouldn’t forget about lifestyle choices. As with all cancers, a healthy diet and regular exercise are important preventative measures we should incorporate into our daily lives.

For women with a gynecologic cancer, OHC offers leading-edge treatments including as robot-assisted surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and early access to new treatments through their clinical trials program. If you would like more information about services or for a second opinion, please visit or call 1-800-710-4674 to schedule an appointment.

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