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Society of Gynecologic Oncologists 39th Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer to Include Sessions on HPV and Cervical Cancer

Eight Sessions to be Dedicated to the Prevention and Treatment of Cervical Cancer and HPV's Related Correlation to the Disease

CHICAGO, March 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It has been almost two years since the first vaccine to prevent cervical cancer was approved for regular clinical use, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO), the professional association for experts in women's cancer, will take a critical look at HPV and Cervical Cancer as well as the vaccine, its impact, and its future during the 2008 Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, March 9 - 12, 2008, in Tampa, Florida.

Due to their background in obstetrics and gynecology - and specialized training in oncology, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and supportive care - gynecologic oncologists have the best understanding of cervical cancer, how it affects women, and how it can best be prevented. "At the Annual Meeting on Women's Cancer, no less than eight sessions have been built around varying aspects of this disease," explains SGO President, Andrew Berchuck, MD. "Of these, six specifically address the quadrivalent and bivalent vaccines that currently exist to prevent cervical cancer. We hope, by putting the spotlight on cervical cancer at this meeting, we can continue to extend and expand the knowledge about its prevention and treatability beyond the medical community to the general public in the hopes of reducing and even eliminating its existence."

The data presented during the meeting provides an array of new information on the vaccine and the human papillomavirus (HPV) - specifically HPV types 16 and 18, which cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers. For the gynecologic oncologists participating in SGO's Annual Meeting, these presentations and research will provide a first-look at some of the data emerging from preliminary studies on the long-term side effects of the vaccines, alternative benefits of vaccination, and genetic susceptibility to HPV. One such study, conducted by Warner K. Huh, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, found that participants who received the quadrivalent HPV vaccine had reduced incidence of abnormal Pap smears and a reduction in the need for cervical procedures like colposcopy and cervical biopsy.

Beyond the presentation of new research on the disease, a special symposium dedicated specifically to the issue of HPV vaccination is being held to provide a forum for discussion and debate on the "state" of vaccination against cervical cancer at the near two-year post-approval mark. "This is going to be a dynamic conversation," explains Mark Einstein, MD, the symposium's moderator. "Although the approval of the vaccine will likely be a huge benefit to women in their fight against cervical cancer, two years after the fact, there are still a lot of challenges being faced by both the medical community and the patient community. There are still questions about the groups of patients that would likely derive benefit from the vaccine. There is also some remaining and residual confusion about HPV and how it relates to cervical cancer among both physicians and patients, and in many cases women are unaware of their real risk of HPV infection."

Additional questions about vaccination for boys, "next generation" vaccines, and the pragmatic details of insurance coverage and physician reimbursement are also just beginning to surface, and will be addressed during the symposium as well. "The goal of this symposium and, really, the goal of this Annual Meeting is to educate... from physician to physician, physician to colleague, and, hopefully, ultimately, from physician to community," concludes Dr. Berchuck. "Cervical cancer is largely a preventable disease, and I can personally say that I would be very happy to never see a patient diagnosed with cervical cancer ever again. The first step toward achieving this end-result is arming the health care providers that see these women regularly - OB/GYNs, family practitioners, internists - with the 'best' information that currently exists on cervical cancer, HPV, and vaccination. A good deal of that information is borne from the conversations that will take place during our meeting."

The SGO is a national medical specialty organization of physicians who are trained in the comprehensive management of women with malignancies of the reproductive tract. Its purpose is to improve the care of women with gynecologic cancer by encouraging research, disseminating knowledge which will raise the standards of practice in the prevention and treatment of gynecologic malignancies, and cooperating with other organizations interested in women's health care, oncology and related fields. The Society's membership, totaling more than 1230, is primarily comprised of gynecologic oncologists, as well as other related medical specialists including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists. SGO members provide multidisciplinary cancer treatment including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and supportive care. More information on the SGO can be found at

SOURCE Society of Gynecologic Oncologists
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