News Release

September 9, 2008

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

National Campaign Urges Women to Seek Care from Gynecologic Oncologists for All Reproductive Cancers

UConn Experts Support Efforts, Encourage Women to Look for Optimal Treatments

Farmington, Conn. – The most comprehensive, up-to-date care for cancers affecting reproductive organs such as the uterus, cervix or ovaries, comes from specially trained gynecologic oncologists. This is the message of a new, multi-year national campaign by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF), and supported by experts at the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center.

“When a woman is facing a diagnosis or possible diagnosis of a gynecologic cancer, she needs to know she is receiving the best, state-of-the-art care,” said Molly A. Brewer, M.D., director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and a nationally recognized expert in cancer prevention and minimally invasive surgery. “We applaud the efforts of the GCF to help women learn where to turn for the best care.”

At UConn, Dr. Brewer works closely with gynecologic oncologists Carolyn D. Runowicz, M.D., a nationally-prominent expert and chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board, and John D. Nash, M.D., who was instrumental in founding UConn’s gynecologic oncology program.

“We have a very strong gynecologic oncology service at UConn Health Center. Fortunately, women in our region have access to excellent care, as well as access to clinical trials on the forefront of new advances in care,” Dr. Brewer added.

Gynecologic oncologists are physicians committed to the comprehensive treatment of women with cancer. After completing four years of medical school and four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology, these physicians pursue an additional three to four years of training in gynecologic oncology through a rigorous fellowship program overseen by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gynecologic oncologists are not only trained to be skilled surgeons capable of performing wide ranging cancer operations, but they are also trained in prescribing the appropriate chemotherapy for those conditions and/or radiation therapy when indicated.

The 2008 State of the State of Gynecologic Cancers: Sixth Annual Report to the Women of America, published annually by GCF, details the reasons why women and their healthcare providers should take this step. There now is significant evidence of improved outcomes, especially for ovarian cancer, when women receive their initial surgery from a gynecologic oncologist. GCF is undertaking this public awareness campaign to share this knowledge with the hope that it will result in improved care for women.

“This year alone over 78,000 American women will learn that they have been diagnosed with a reproductive cancer,” said Karl C. Podratz, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the GCF. “As a practicing gynecologic oncologist, I have noted first-hand the improved outcomes experienced by women undergoing treatment for a gynecologic cancer, especially ovarian cancer, when they receive first surgery from a gynecologic oncologist. Now there is growing scientific research to support what I have witnessed in my own clinical practice.”

The UConn Health Center is hosting a variety of programs about gynecologic cancers this fall. To learn more, visit and click under “events.”

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

Note: News professionals are invited to visit the UConn Health Today news page ( for regularly updated news and feature stories, photos and media stories. News releases are archived at UConn Health news and information is also available on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.