Gyn onc awarenessDressed in teal and enjoying breakfast and visionary talks from leading women’s cancer researchers, 65 patients, supporters and community members helped kick off Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month with collective enthusiasm for the future.

On Sept. 6, the strength and vision of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Program of Excellence in Gynecologic Cancer (PEGoC) was on full display as guests to the Anschutz Medical Campus attended a first-of-its-kind symposium focused on women’s cancer research at CU.

Saketh Guntupalli, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, welcomed the crowd and introduced David Mutch, MD, who spoke about the state of gynecologic oncology research from a national perspective. Dr. Mutch is professor and division chief of Gynecologic Oncology at Washington University in St. Louis and a well-known expert in the field.

Kian Behbakht, MD, professor and division chief of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Colorado presented on the current state of care, research and education here on the Anschutz Medical Campus. He also explained the need for immediate and long-term funding for CU’s Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program, as training new gynecologic oncologists is critical for women’s health – especially in Colorado, a state with only 11 physicians currently practicing in this subspecialty.

“Women diagnosed with cancer of the reproductive organs have significantly better outcomes and survival rates when seen by a trained gynecologic oncologist,“ said Behbakht. “Every woman should have access to a gynecologic oncologist when facing these cancers.  In order to make this a reality, however, we need to put more resources into fellowship programs like the one here at the University of Colorado, to train the next generation of gynecologic oncologists and to ultimately save more lives.”

Carol Goldstein, RN, PhD, a dedicated volunteer, echoed the call for more training of gynecologic oncologists, which she explained was critical to her own positive outcomes as a patient at the CU Cancer Center. Goldstein urged attendees to join her and her husband in supporting the fellowship program at CU as a way to improve the future for women who seek treatment at the CU Cancer Center. Carol Speaking

After the talks, guests were invited to tour one of the gynecologic oncology research labs on campus. Posters were also on display highlighting the research being done by the current fellows.

The event was hosted by the Gynecologic Oncology Community Council, a collection of dedicated supporters of PEGoC, which includes:

  • Carol Goldstein, RN, PhD
  • Donna Mullen Good
  • Bettina Kurowski
  • Katie Reinisch
  • Bobbi Siegel, MSW
  • Suzanne White

 About the Program of Excellence in Gynecologic Cancer

The Program of Excellence in Gynecologic Cancer (PEGoC) is a far-reaching, ambitious effort with the goal of helping eradicate the serious impact, consequences and cost of gynecologic cancer in the Rocky Mountain region. With its five-pronged approach–Prevention, Research, Detection, Treatment and Outreach–PEGoC is unique in its ability to address these important issues with one comprehensive coordination program. PEGoC is a program of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and is located at the University of Colorado Cancer Center at the Anschutz Cancer Pavilion in Aurora.

About the CU Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program

In 2013, over 95,000 women were diagnosed with gynecologic cancer in the United States. Yet many women who need high-quality care do not have access to a gynecologic oncologist. An insufficient number of young doctors become gynecologic oncologists primarily because there are now only a few robust fellowship/training programs like the one at the University of Colorado. “Fellows” in the Gynecologic Oncology Division in the CU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology receive the country’s best training and education alongside some of the most renowned oncologists in the world.

The goals of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program are: 1) To educate obstetrician-gynecologists in the comprehensive care of women with cancer of the reproductive organs, and 2) To foster the development of future physician-scientists and leaders within the field of gynecologic oncology.

Gifts to support the endowment for this program, ensuring that it will be sustainable for many, many years to come, can be made at www.cufund.org/GynOncEndowedFellowship