More than 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer each year, and over 4,200 die as a result, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. Although these numbers are daunting, especially in rural areas, gynecologic cancer experts at the Georgia Cancer Center are developing new therapies to advance the war on cervical cancer.
January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the cancer center is conducting several clinical trials to evaluate new ways to diagnose and treat cervical cancer.
“Clinical trials make a difference because it gives us the data needed to make advances to improve patient survival, and it gives patients access to the newest therapies not yet widely available,” said Dr. Sharad Ghamande, associate director of clinical trials at the Georgia Cancer Center and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Georgia.
“In Georgia, the health disparities among cervical cancer patients match those living in underdeveloped countries. This is why I am grateful we can offer these trials as a medical care option to help those living with cervical cancer in or near our state.”
Rebekah Griffin is among the many cervical cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials at the Georgia Cancer Center. Her treatments include three different medications along with immunotherapy to help her immune system fight the disease. Although Griffin is fighting her second battle with cervical cancer, she remains hopeful knowing her participation in the clinical trial will also help other women with this disease.
“If it were not for the women who participated in the trials to test the drugs that I am taking now, I would not have had this treatment available to me,” said Griffin. “So, it feels great to know that I am helping others who might need this treatment in the future.”
The cancer center’s clinical trials focus on current standards of treatments to enhance survival rates and quality of life. The center’s research team is experienced in guiding patients through the process in enrolling in the most appropriate clinical trial and choosing candidates who will more than likely benefit from the trial.