5 Key Takeaways from Recently Reported Research Advancements in Cancer Care 

Susan Zweizig, MD Headshot

Susan Zweizig, MD

The 2023 International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) Annual Global Meeting took place in Seoul, South Korea from November 5-7, 2023. The meeting featured many engaging research reviews, discussions, and presentations highlighting scientific advancements that are continually shaping the way healthcare professionals approach cancer treatment and care. Palliative care, surgical approaches, targeted therapies, and chemotherapy were among the topics discussed. Susan Zweizig, MD, a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) and Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC) Communications Committee, provided five key takeaways and related resources for patients, caregivers, and survivors. 


  1. Palliative and Supportive Care Advocacy

Keichi Fujiwara, MD, PhD, emphasized the importance of proactive advocacy for palliative and supportive care. Physicians are encouraged to communicate with all patients about their palliative care needs from the moment of diagnosis. This approach seeks to move palliative care from a last-resort option to a proactive, integral part of cancer care. 

A cancer treating physician may introduce you to a palliative care team that consists of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, pharmacists, nutritionists and others. This team is dedicated to caring for patients holistically and improving their overall quality of life. We encourage you to take our “Demystifying Palliative Care” course and browse here to find more information about palliative care including a list of resources. 

  1. Shifting Trends in Surgical Approaches for Low-Risk Cervical Cancer

Over the past two decades, a notable shift towards less radical surgery has been observed in low-risk cervical cancer patients. Radical surgery is an operation that removes a tumor plus surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Research from Sarah Ferguson, MD, suggests that less radical surgery may be safe and associated with reduced morbidity for patients whose cancer is not advanced. Visit here to learn more about cervical cancer and its treatment. 

  1. A Promising Approach for Recurrent LGSOC (Low Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer)

Rachel Grisham, MD, presented a study focused on recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer (LGSOC). “Patients with recurrent LGSOC currently have no medicines approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and limited treatment options for their disease,” said Dr. Gresham. Research suggests that a certain combination of inhibitors demonstrated robust efficacy regardless of prior treatment, particularly in cases where response to previous treatments was poor. This research offers hope for more effective targeted therapies for recurrent low grade serous ovarian cancer. 

  1. Enhanced Survival with Pre-Chemoradiation Chemotherapy in Advanced Cervix Cancer

Mary McCormack, MD, has identified a significant breakthrough in locally advanced cervical cancer treatment. According to her research, six weeks of certain chemotherapy drugs before standard chemoradiation were shown to improve overall survival. This approach holds promise for advancing treatment outcomes in patients facing locally advanced cervical cancer. 

  1. Mitigating Peritoneal Recurrences in Early-Stage Cervical Cancer Patients

Tae-Wook Kong, MD, presented research highlighting a vulnerability in early-stage cervical cancer patients with tumors less than 2 cm (about 0.79 in) during minimally invasive surgery (MIS). Research suggests that preoperative conization, or removing a sample of abnormal cervical tissue, may not lower disease recurrence in patients undergoing this type of surgery. This research informs the need for careful consideration about MIS and further investigation into other more suitable treatment options to prevent peritoneal recurrences in this specific patient population. 


These key takeaways offer valuable insights into the evolving landscape of cancer care and help our community understand the latest advancements that can ultimately improve patient outcomes and contribute to the ongoing fight against cancer.