Ruyton joins fight against gynaecological cancer

Ruyton Girls’ School in Melbourne is the first all-girls school in Australia to invite a representative of The Australia New Zealand Gynaecological Oncology Group (ANZGOG) to host an assembly to educate students on gynaecological cancer research and ANZGOG’s critical work into research, prevention and treatments.

“This is a significant moment for ANZGOG as it’s the first opportunity to engage with a new community on a cause that is both relevant and important from a health education perspective,” said Dr Pearly Khaw, Radiation Oncologist and the member of ANZGOG who hosted the dedicated assembly on 17 May 2019.

In Australia, 17 women are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer each day, and five women die every day from a gynaecological cancer. Two out of three women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will die within five years of diagnosis.

There are seven gynaecological cancers: ovarian, cervical, uterine (endometrial), vulvar, vaginal and two rare pregnancy cancers. Out of these seven there is currently only a test available for one, cervical cancer.

Endometrial cancer has risen significantly with incidence growing 22% in the last 20 years due to the rise in obesity in the population.

“Often young women are ill-informed about that part of their anatomy and ‘cancer’ is a concept that is often associated with death and dying. This is an opportunity to start to demystify some of these concepts and educate these young women about the importance of screening and that with the help of research, not all cancers are a ‘death sentence’. Also, when things do look bleak, there are teams of people working really hard to change those outcomes,” added Dr Khaw.

In her presentation, Dr Pearly Khaw discussed clinical trials, the impact they’ve had on student’s lives through the HPV vaccination and how students can make a real difference to the future of gynaecological cancer through fundraising.

Dr Khaw, a Ruyton parent, said, “I hope that these young women leave the assembly knowing that no matter how large or small the fundraising total may be, women will benefit from their efforts. This is just the start of a long association with Ruyton Girls’ School so that in the future we can show them exactly what difference their fundraising made by discussing clinical trial outcomes.”

Glenis Gumley, Head of Senior School at Ruyton Girls School, said the school was thrilled to have Dr Khaw speaking with senior students about ANZGOG’s critical work in research and clinical trials into the prevention and treatments of gynaecological cancers.

“Dr Khaw’s presentation will inform our girls, instil empowerment to take action, and raise critical awareness of gynaecological cancers amongst the next generation of leading women. Cancer touches every community; our students and school community will support ANZGOG’s fight against gynaecological cancer by taking part in a Cupcake for Cancer fund raiser,” added Dr Khaw.

Ruyton is also hosting a Cupcake for Cancer fundraising activity to raise funds for The Women’s Cancer Foundation (WCF), a fundraising arm of ANZGOG.

Pictured above: The ANZGOG Presentation at Ruyton Girls’ School in Kew, Melbourne.

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