HAMPTON, Va — September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness month. As a response to the number of women suffering and dying from gynecologic cancers, a non-profit organization, Project Nana Inc., is urging the public to participate in “Take Nana to the Doctor Week.”
A News 3 special report revealed that postmenopausal women are at increased risk for gynecologic cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of diagnosis for most gynecologic cancers is over the age of 60. For example, the average age of diagnosis is 63 for uterine and Ovarian Cancer; 67 for cancer of the vagina and vulva; and 50 for cervical cancer.
Vanessa Hill, executive director and founder of Project Nana, said senior women often don’t know to continue gynecologic care after menopause.
“These seasoned women have moved beyond childbearing years, beyond menopause; women who have stopped scheduling appointments with their gynecologists. Years ago, those appointments were the central time those women received Pap smears and were examined for pelvic issues,” said Hill. “These women are missing years of preventative health tests that are critical to their well-being. Consequently, cancer statistics now show women ages 55 and older are developing late-stage gynecologic cancers that are difficult to treat. In too many cases, these women are dying, dying from cancers that could have been treated in the early stages.”
This year marks the fifth year Project Nana Inc., has worked to raise awareness regarding the impact of gynecologic cancers on women. There are a series of events associated with “Take Nana To the Doctor Week,” including an advocacy training session, health awareness walks, and wellness fair. Hill said participants of all ages and genders are welcome to participate. In addition to the events scheduled for September 11 – 17, family members, friends, and other people in the support network of senior women are encouraged to help them schedule appointments where they can receive pelvic exams, be screened for, and be advised on gynecologic cancers.
September 10th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sentara Careplex Hospital, 3000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Va.
The Project Nana Workshop at the Sentara Careplex Hospital. One hundred postmenopausal women, surgical or natural, and women over age 55 are needed to complete an eligibility survey form by Sept. 7 before arriving at this research project. On September 10, those participants will receive educational materials regarding gynecologic care and they will learn how to become a self-advocate during future discussions with health care providers.
September 11th, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m, Sentara Careplex Hospital, 3000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Va.
The public is welcome to participate in Project Nana’s Walk to End Cancers. This event is held in partnership with the Foundation for Women’s Cancers/Society of Gynecologic Oncology.
You can register in advance and help raise funds for important research projects. The walk honors the life of Mrs. Merlice Henderson, the grandmother (Nana) of Vanessa Hill who died unexpectedly from late-stage uterus cancer.
Participants can make online donations to financially sponsor the event or walk in person on September 11. To register for the walk click here.
September 13th, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sentara Careplex Hospital, 3000 Coliseum Drive, Hampton, Va.
A peer support advocate training program will be held to prepare participants to become advocates for the health of a woman in their network who needs help navigating health resources. Complete the advance form and submit it by Sept. 7.
If assistance is needed in returning the form, call 757-788-2900. This event is in partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center Community Engagement in Research.
Visit this site to find the advanced Peer Support Advocate form: Peer Advocate Training Application.
September 16th, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., Virtual
Visit the Project Nana website to join the virtual Nana Chat, a monthly chat session designed to give women a safe setting to discuss topics relevant to their gynecologic care and to improve their quality of life.
September 17th, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Hampton University
The Suicide Prevention Walk, “Move for Mental Health Wellness” will be followed by the Mind, Body, and Spirit Wellness Fair. This 5K walk will be at Hampton University. Participants can walk and honor individuals who have died by suicide.
During the 5K people will learn more about women’s health and diseases that can potentially be life-threatening; how to remove the stigma and the shame associated with mental health treatment and suicide. To register in advance click here.
Other collaborators supporting the event include Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Ivy Baptist Church of Newport News, Va., Gerontology Center for Excellence, Foundation for Women’s Cancers, Sentara, and Project Nana, Inc.
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