Dear IGCS Members and Friends,
Today (February 4th) is, World Cancer Day – a day when the world unites to raise awareness of key issues and build or strengthen coalitions for global cancer control.
As an association made up of gynecologic cancer care professionals practicing in every region of this vast world, our collective work is powerful. The theme for World Cancer Day is “Close the Care Gap” — and that is what we do and continually strive for when it comes to advancing gynecologic cancer care.
Gaps in care refer to areas where there are deficiencies, disparities, or shortcomings in providing comprehensive and equitable healthcare for individuals facing gynecologic cancers. Addressing these gaps requires a comprehensive approach involving healthcare policy changes, increased awareness and education, community engagement, research funding, and efforts to eliminate disparities in access to care.
While IGCS and its members alone may not be able to fully close these gaps, we certainly can use our tools and expertise to build pathways and bridges in the spaces between. Imagine that each person who travels across these “IGCS-built” paths contributes to making them stronger, longer, and wider. That’s how progress towards seemingly insurmountable challenges is made — one step, one person, one triumph at a time.
So how do you find the “IGCS path?” Our educational opportunities, mentorship and training programs, and awareness campaigns are designed to address specific areas of need and work towards a future where no aspect of care is left unattended. Specifically, three programs were developed by the IGCS Education Committee and teams of volunteer experts to equip our members with the tools and knowledge to close some of the greatest care gaps affecting gynecologic cancer patients and survivors. These programs were designed with the entire interdisciplinary gynecologic oncology team in mind.
The IGCS Palliative & Supportive Care Declaration and Call to Action
One large gap that needs bridging is in understanding the role of gynecologic cancer specialists in palliative and supportive care and its importance for our patients starting at the time of diagnosis. Palliative care is not end of life care, it is supportive care meant to relieve health-related suffering and to manage and improve troubling symptoms. This is so important for our patients, their families, and their quality of life.
It has been three months since the IGCS made a bold Declaration on the Importance of Palliative and Supportive Care in Gynecologic Oncology and called our members to take action. Did you take the pledge? Have you taken action to improve your understanding of palliative and supportive care, communicate with your patients, and integrate compassionate care into your treatment plans?
Let us know by responding to our posts on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter (X), or Instagram. Or even better, write a guest blog for the IGCS website sharing your thoughts, experiences, and the successes or challenges of delivering palliative and supportive care in your practice.
IGCS is powered by people and groups working towards a common purpose — improving the lives of those affected by gynecologic cancers regardless of their circumstance or location. When it comes to inequities and gaps in cancer care that are too vast to traverse alone, rely on your community to help you find and strengthen the path that leads to our desired destination. Matsuo Basho, 17th century Japanese poet and haiku master once wrote “every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” Let’s walk together on this journey.
As always, if you have any questions or comments about the IGCS and our work, please reach out to me at email@example.com. I am in your service, and I truly enjoy hearing from the IGCS members.
Keiichi Fujiwara, MD, PhD
The World Cancer Day theme is “Close the Care Gap” with the aim to reduce the equity gap in cancer care and strive for a world where every person has the opportunity to reach his or her full health potential without barriers or limitations. World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), an organization in which IGCS proudly holds membership.