Every day 15 Australian women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. and four die as a result of it.
The stats are scary, yet it is a topic that is often not spoken about.
The Save the Box campaign aims to spark conversation and take the taboo out of talking about women’s cancers.
With more than 16,000 women currently living with a gynaecological cancer in Australia, ANZGOG (Australia and New Zealand Gynaecological Oncological Group) started Save the Box to the raise awareness of the importance of clinical trials and the need to improve survival outcomes.
Clinical trials involve people who volunteer to take part in new treatments, interventions or tests, in order to evaluate their effectiveness and safety.
Dr Diana Adams, a Medical Oncology Senior Staff Specialist at Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, said clinical trials could be a game changer for women with gynaecological cancers.
“Virtually every improvement in cancer survival has been on the back of clinical trials,” Dr Adams said.
“Survival rates for gynaecological cancers have only increased by seven per cent in the past 25 years, compared to 19 per cent for all other cancers combined - those numbers need to change.
“As a clinician I see new treatments being found in other cancers and see the patients doing so much better thanks to research outcomes. I want to see even more research happening in gynaecological cancers.”
South Western Sydney Local Health District has jumped on board the campaign, with hospitals throughout the district participating in three different trials which span cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
But Dr Adams said prevention was better than a cure.
“Four-in-10 endometrial cancers can be avoided by modifying your diet and exercise,” she said.
“Aside from cigarette smoking, obesity is currently the biggest preventable cause of several different cancers.”
There are seven types of gynaecological cancers - ovarian, uterine (often called endometrial), vulvar, vaginal, cervical and two rare pregnancy cancers.
Save the Box also aims to raise funds for gynaecological cancer research.
Visit https://savethebox.org.au/ for more information or to get involved.