Must-Know Monday: WORD – Women’s Oncology Research & Dialogue


Must-Know Monday is a weekly post that features an organization that works for all cancers. The efforts of these groups help to reduce the imbalance between ovarian cancer and all other cancers. Last week, we featured the Imerman Angels, a non-profit organization that provides one-on-one mentoring for cancer patients.

Today’s featured organization is WORDonCancer.org

WORD is special because  it was formed by a team of gynecologic oncologists that believed that not enough was done to prevent women’s cancers. Nathan Manahan, the Executive Director of WORD, saw “the great need”:

too many women do not know about gynecologic cancers and furthermore, way too many women are not receiving proper treatment.

Adding to WORD’s uniqueness is its nearly entire-male team. Of the six listed members, one woman (Dr. Kelly Manahan) holds a spot on the six-member group. Dr. Manahan “hated cancer so much” that she had to “do something about it” and thus, WORD was born in 2005. Read more about the rest of the diverse WORD team here; I think that you’ll be impressed at the diversity of its leaders.

[Side note: Dr. John Geisler, another founder of WORD, believes that patients need to be “advocates of their own care” – i.e., talk to your physician! My mom always told me to be as specific as possible when I visit the doctor – and now I see why.]

WORD focuses specifically on four types of women’s gynecological cancers (or just “women’s cancers”): Vaginal/Vulvar, Ovarian, Uterine, and Cervical. Realizing that most people turn to the Internet for information, WORD founders listed five reasons why they created their site. WORD exists to:

1) Provide the best gynecologic cancer web video content through the production of survivor stories, physicians’ and other experts’ advice – as well as stories from families who have lost loved ones.

2) Guarantee current information about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gynecologic cancers created in a simple and user-friendly interface.

3) Create pathways to dialogue among women and their physicians so every woman makes the best decision about their healthcare.

4) Utilize the most effective and relevant multimedia tools to accomplish our organizational mission.

5) Connect and create partnerships with grassroots groups throughout the United States, empowering them to create local efforts to conquer gynecologic cancers.

Not only does WORD serve as a reliable and supportive information source, but they also maintain an active Facebook presence and upload videos, current links to news and research, and more. If you’re into video, WORD has plenty of independently-produced documentaries (I loved them!). Recently, they posted a trailer for their new documentary short on Cervical Cancer, “No More”. How many physician-advocates can say they’ve done that for “other” women’s cancers? Their blog also contains videos and “wrap-ups” of their work from the previous month.

I highly encourage you to check out WORD’s site, blog, and Facebook page. Right now, one of their homepage slides links to a “Let’s Talk” video interviews with various ovarian cancer survivors – you definitely don’t want to miss those.

Major kudos to the founders and team of WORD. I want to personally thank them for working so hard for all women’s gynecological cancers – not just breast. Professionals like these help ease the isolation that many newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients feel – and this is just one more resource to help them feel less alone.

Thank you, WORD! We look forward to reading more about your work.