Dhaka, Bangladesh – September 19, 2023 – Today esteemed guests from Bangladesh and around the world gathered to mark World Gynecologic Oncology Day to discuss early insights from a landmark ovarian cancer patient experience study underway in the country, the Every Woman Study™: Low- and Middle-Income Edition.
Joining the prestigious panel were Dr. Abdullah, the personal physician of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Frances Reid, Director of Programmes and Every Woman Study™ Lead from the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition; Dr. Mostafa Aziz Sumon, International Affairs Secretary of the Oncology Club; and Professor Dr. Shahana Pervin, Country Lead for Bangladesh for the Every Woman Study™.
Chaired by Rafe Sadnan Adel, Founder Chairperson of Cancerbd.net, and Clara MacKay, CEO of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, guests discussed critical aspects of women’s well-being with a particular focus on ovarian cancer, one of the most lethal gynecologic cancers for which there is no screening test.
Working in partnership with the International Gynecologic Cancer Society, the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition is currently collecting data in up to 24 low- and middle-income countries of the experiences of women living with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Bangladesh was early to sign on the list of countries willing to participate. Event co-chair and Study oversight committee member, Rafe Sadnan Adel, immediately saw the potential of this work, “results from the Study will help us advocate for policies to support cancer prevention and treatment, fundraise for new research and expanded patient support, and strengthen our awareness campaigns.”
Dr. Abdullah expressed, “raising awareness is paramount in the fight against cancer. Achieving this requires specific research and well-thought-out strategies. I am hopeful that the Every Woman Study™, with a focus on ovarian cancer, will achieve success.”
With the incidence of ovarian cancer set to jump by almost 60% by 2040 in Bangladesh, the primary objective of the event was to raise the profile of the disease in the country and more specifically the experiences of the women who are diagnosed. Frances Reid, Study Lead, stated, “while data collection is still ongoing, we already know that the information we are gathering has the potential to improve the landscape for women in the country, and will provide patient advocates and doctors in Bangladesh with invaluable insights that could help shape policies and care.”
Professor Dr. Shahana Pervin, serving as the Country Lead (Bangladesh) for Every Woman Study™, shared her insights, saying, “Data is needed in order for us to be able to make changes, not just cancer registries, but also data of the reality of women and how and when they come to visit us and the barriers that stand in their way.”
Results from the Every Woman Study™: Low- and Middle-Income Edition are due out in 2024 and there will be a report focused on Bangladesh. Clara Mackay, CEO of the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition, remarked, “from the very start of this work, our focus has always been on developing a study, and results, that can be used not only on a global scale, but are robust enough for groups, like Cancerbd.net, to use at country-level to advocate for change and to ensure that women receive the best possible care and have the best chance of survival – no matter where they live.”
This web-based initiative represents a pioneering effort in the Bengali language, dedicated to fostering awareness about cancer. Operating with a tripartite mission, this portal aims to achieve three core objectives: educating the populace about cancer, disseminating knowledge pertaining to this grave ailment, and extending support to individuals afflicted by cancer.
The principal aim of this platform is to furnish global citizens with comprehensive information about cancer in their native Bengali language. By doing so, it seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding this disease. Officially inaugurated on February 14, 2014, under the auspices of the former Information Minister, Hasanul Haque Inu, this momentous occasion took place at the auditorium of the Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh, situated in the Shegun Bagicha area of Dhaka.
Over the past decade, this platform has remained steadfast in its commitment to raising cancer awareness through the facilitation of information and communication. Furthermore, it has ambitious plans to expand its outreach and impact by incorporating an additional 17 languages in the near future.
About the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Formally established in 2016, the World Ovarian Cancer Coalition is the only global not-for-profit focused on ovarian cancer. Working with close to 200 patient advocacy organisations around the world, the Coalition is determined that every woman with ovarian cancer should have the best chance of survival and best quality of life – wherever she may live.
The Coalition builds on the significant impact of the annual flagship ovarian cancer awareness campaign – World Ovarian Cancer Day, started in 2013 and the ground-breaking Every Woman Study™ published in 2018. The Coalition launched a Global Ovarian Cancer Charter at the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) annual meeting in 2020. The Charter, a living document, pivots around six Global Goals and is a clear call-to-action for all those committed to improving survival and quality of life for women with ovarian cancer. In 2022 and in partnership with IGCS, the Coalition is undertaking the Every Woman Study™: Low- and Middle-Income Edition in 24 countries.. This next generation of the Study will for the first-time detail the experiences of women living with an ovarian cancer diagnosis in settings that, for a number of reasons, have been until now overlooked. Initial results from this Study are due out early 2024.
Footage of the event is available here: https://www.youtube.com/live/Nnp7fRjYw4U?si=Jvnez3Dh1BCxcFBT
Coalition Media Contact:
Director of Communications and Marketing