New ‘one-stop-shop’ platform for gynaecological cancer information launched to mark World GO Day
Doctors and patients unite with the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology and buildings light up to raise awareness about gynaecological cancers on Monday September 20
A new first-of-its-kind platform for Ireland providing relevant, reliable and evidence-based information for people affected by cervical cancer has been launched to mark World Gynaecological Oncology Awareness Day (GO Day) on Monday September 20.
The ThisIsGo.ie platform offers a one-stop-shop for helpful resources and advice on cervical cancer as part of the first phase of its development, including over 130 different articles, videos and audio content covering every stage of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and life with and after cancer.
The platform has been co-developed by the Irish Cancer Society through its Women’s Health Initiative and support researchers and clinicians in UCD, in close collaboration with women and families directly affected by cervical cancer, and supported by Pfizer.
ThisIsGo.ie offers a personalised experience tailored to the stage and needs of individual users, including a specific section for partners of women who have or have had cervical cancer. It contains evidence-based information on everything from the stages of cervical cancer and a step-by-step guide for what to expect from treatment, to important parts of the journey that may often be overlooked including simple tips on preparing for hospital, and talking to children about cancer.
Today’s launch marks the first phase of the innovative platform, and it is hoped to add further specific sections on other gynaecological cancers including ovarian, endometrial, vulval and vaginal cancers in future.
Gynaecological Oncologist Prof Donal Brennan, whose team developed the platform, said: “Over the last three years Irish people have become aware of the terrible impact a cervical cancer diagnosis can have on women and their families. We hope that ThisIsGo.ie will provide a safe and accurate repository of information that will empower women with cervical cancer to understand the disease and complications associated with treatment.
Anne Nally-Keenan who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012 and contributed to the development of ThisIsGo.ie said: “Advances in cancer treatment are greatly increasing survival rates for patients. ThisIsGo.ie will focus on the patient, empowering the women as well as offering support to the wider family," she said of the platform, which has been built by Irish software firm Full Circuit (www.fullcircuit.ie).
In Ireland, in our #DareToAsk campaign we are encouraging patients to ask their doctors those questions they have been too shy or afraid to ask, says Sharon O’Toole, Trinity College Dublin and coordinator of the World GO Day activities on behalf of the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology, which will be launching a special podcast in conjunction with the “the Answers for Cancers podcast” team on World GO Day to answer many of these questions that have been collated from patients, and it will also be featured on the ThisIsGo.ie platform.
Once again, people in more than 25 countries, including thousands of patients and dozens of groups of medical professionals and experts, will together support a single goal raising awareness of gynaecological cancers for World GO Day 2021.
The day is dedicated to elevating public understanding of gynaecological cancers and highlighting the risk factors, symptoms, early detection and prevention strategies related to the main types of gynaecological cancers that impact women: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulval. Over 1400 gynaecological cancers are diagnosed in Ireland annually (NCRI 2020 Annual Report), representing over 12% of female cancers. This year's message for World GO Day is simple: Information is power, but communication is the solution!
The theme for 2021 is communication between patients and doctors, represented by the main event hashtag #GOforcommunication.
"Information is power, but communication is the solution. It goes hand in hand with the very short but clear message: Talk to your doctor, do not be afraid to seek information on gynaecological cancers and to have your regular check-ups to prevent cancer. That is why #GOforprevention will be the second main hashtag of World GO Day," says Prof. Murat Gultekin, who is the co-chair of the organisation that founded the event, the European Network of Gynaecological Cancer Advocacy Groups (ENGAGe). “Awareness is important because an early diagnosis is key for good treatment of gynaecological cancers. We want people to know that having a regular check-up with your gynaecologist should be a priority. But also, ask the right questions. Be open in communication with your doctor.”
”Ensure you #JustAsk your doctor about clinical trials as the number of trials for gynaecological cancer patients has expanded in Ireland” explains Dr Dearbhaile Collins, co-chair of the Gynaecological Specific Sub Group in Cancer Trials Ireland (www.cancertrials.ie).
World GO Day Events
Planned activities in Ireland this year include an activator pole event with caregivers, health workers, survivors, and supporters organised by EGM Cancer Support. Their aim is to promote fitness and exercise as well as raising awareness about gynaecological cancers, motivate people to go for preventative screenings, and invite all women to become more informed about cancer signs and symptoms and to talk to their doctors about their health.
To mark World Gynaecological Oncology Day, the following buildings have generously agreed to ‘Light Up in Purple’, the colour associated all over the world with Gynaecological cancers – Áras Chontae an Chláir - Clare County Council; City Hall, Cork; Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Dublin; Cork ARC Cancer Support; Cork County Hall; Crann Centre, Cork; East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway; Kilkenny Castle; Mansion House, Dublin; Millmount, Drogheda; National University of Ireland, Galway; One Albert Quay, Cork; Pearse Lyons Distillery, Dublin; Purple House Cancer Support, Wicklow; Rock of Cashel, Tipperary; St James’s Hospital, Dublin; The Capitol, Cork; The Convention Centre Dublin, Titanic Belfast, National Concert Hall Dublin and University College Cork.
We encourage people around the world to raise awareness about gynaecological cancers and support patients by wearing something purple or painting their lips or nails purple. Then, share the photos with us using the #GoForPurple hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter on September 20.
World Go Day Awareness Activities
To mark World GO Awareness Day, on September 20 an international digital and social media campaign to drive women to engage with and share gynaecological cancers information will take place.
Additionally, pictures, and messages will be shared online using the hashtag #WorldGODay, to create a global conversation on gynaecological cancers, as well as on the official World GO Day website at www.worldgoday.org.
About the Irish Network for Gynaecological Oncology
The Network is comprised of Ireland’s foremost gynaecological cancer campaigners, researchers and patient advocates and comprises over 30 groups in Ireland including; Answers for Cancer podcast team, ARC Cancer Support Centres, Dublin, Breakthrough Cancer Research, Cancer Care West, Cancer Trials Ireland, CERVIVA, Circle of Friends Cancer Support Centre, Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, Cork ARC Cancer Support, Cork Cancer Care Centre, East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre, Emer Casey Foundation, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Society of Gynaecological Oncology, Karen Fenton Ovarian Cancer Fund, Lynch Syndrome Ireland, Marie Keating Foundation, Mater Hospital Dublin, National Cancer Control Programme, National Immunisation Office, National Women’s Council of Ireland, OvaCare, Pink Ladies Cancer Charity, Purple House Cancer Support, Sláinte an Chláir, Sligo Cancer Support Centre, SOCK, St. James’s Hospital Foundation (GynaeCancerCare), Swell Fermanagh Cancer Survivorship Group, Trinity College Dublin, Trinity St James’s Cancer Institute, UCD Gynaecological Oncology Group and 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group.
Contact the Irish Cancer Society Support Line
If you have worries or concerns about cancer, you can speak confidentially to an Irish Cancer Society Cancer Nurse through the Freephone Support Line on 1800 200 700.
Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm
For more information