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National Cervical Cancer Month (USA) release



No matter how much family and friends love and care for you, if they haven’t walked the walk, there is absolutely no way that they can understand what is going on…

EOTP saved my sanity and let me recognize that I was feeling the same anger and frustration that goes with the territory...

I am so thankful for this site and for the unbelievable love and support that you give. I don’t know what I would do without all of you. You are all helping to keep my head "above water"…

-- users’ comments regarding web site

PITTSBURGH – Motivated by their experience with gynecologic cancer, 10 women living throughout North America recently united to form a non-profit organization as a one-stop-shop of information and support for women who find their fertility, femininity, and very lives threatened by reproductive cancer and its treatment.

Last year, more than 77,000 women in this country received an unexpected diagnosis: cancer of a reproductive organ. This means that on average, one woman in the United States is diagnosed with gynecologic cancer ever seven minutes.

While these types of cancer – cervical, endometrial/uterine, ovarian, vulvar, vaginal, tubal and gestational – are rarely discussed, they affected more women than lung cancer (74,600 women diagnosed in 2000) and colon cancer (50,400 women diagnosed in 2000).*

Susan Donley of Oakmont, Pa. -- who serves as president of –- explains, "Newly diagnosed cancer patients want information, but even more than that, they want to hear the voices of other women's experiences and that is what makes unique among other cancer sites. By uniting survivors of all cancers, we create a stronger community."

We saw a need to provide a welcoming place for women to share experiences and gather information. So much of what we suffer is similar in its devastation, regardless of what kind of gynecologic cancer it is," says Donley. "We knew women with these cancers were searching for quality information and support, because that's what we were looking for and couldn't find it. So working from all corners of North America, we created it and the response so far has been overwhelming!"

More than 11,000 individuals have visited the web site each since its launch in May 2000.

The most popular features of the site include the "My Story" section where women share their cancer journeys in written memoirs. In the "FAQ" section, survivors offer answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" from their own unique experiences, giving multiple personal perspectives. "Resources" points the way to hard-to-find information on the web and in libraries and bookstores. Visitors who join the email discussion list get their dose of warm daily support from other members who are ready to share laughs, tears, and hard-won knowledge of living with cancer. The most recent addition, "In Your Community," provides a searchable database of local gynecologic cancer support groups.

Managed entirely by the 10 survivor-volunteers, without formal sponsorship or funding, EOTP has succeeded in providing emotional support and information for women living with gynecologic cancer. By incorporating as a non-profit organization, founders hope to raise funds to expand their support and advocacy activities.

The organization’s founders – separated by thousands of miles between Maine and California, Ontario and Alberta – met on an Internet support list in 1998 and 1999.

"We see the benefit of fostering partnerships between professional medical organizations and as the voice of women who are living with these cancers that hit below the belt. It’s just common sense," states co-founder Cathy Black of Hamilton, Ontario. "We know that by combining our voices we can make ourselves be heard." was named in honor of Beverly, a fellow cancer sister who lost her life in 1999. She closed her email messages with the expression "keeping my eyes on the prize" as a potent reminder that hope is so important and that "all of us are in the race together."


* source: National Cancer Institute

CONTACT: Mary Beth Mueller (412) 351-7702