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Release: Aug. 31, 2001

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at UI promotes Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Every seven minutes, a woman is diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, according to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation. Yet, many women are unaware of the risks or the preventative measures associated with this group of diseases.

Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa recently proclaimed September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month in Iowa, matching the effort being made on a national level. Vilsack made his proclamation in response to a request from Anil Sood, M.D., a specialist in gynecologic cancer in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Iowa. Sood also serves as an assistant professor in the UI department of obstetrics and gynecology.

"The medical and scientific communities have made tremendous strides in better understanding how to diagnose and treat gynecologic cancers," Sood said. "Now we want to help women to learn about their risk for gynecologic cancer, to know what they can do to reduce that risk, and to ensure that they are appropriately screened for gynecologic cancers."

Approximately 80,000 women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancers annually in the United States. Gynecologic oncologists urge all women to learn their family medical history and find out if any of their relatives have been diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer. The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation offers an online cancer risk assessment service in its Web site at

The next step is education. Learn how you can reduce your risk for gynecologic cancer by taking steps such as quitting smoking, consuming a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Learn the warning signs of gynecologic cancer, including a full, bloated feeling, abdominal pain and swelling. If you have any of these or any other unusual symptoms, it is important to see your physician.

"If you are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, it’s important to be seen by a physician who is knowledgeable about gynecologic cancers," Sood added. "At our center, we can also offer cutting-edge and investigational treatments that may achieve more successful results."

For additional information about research efforts and gynecologic cancer, call the Cancer Information Service in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at (319) 356-4262 or toll-free at (800) 237-1225, or visit the cancer service online at

The Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is Iowa’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center. NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers are recognized as the leaders in developing new approaches to cancer prevention and cancer care, conducting leading edge research and educating the public about cancer.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at