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Links from Bonnie Werner, Guest Speaker at SMSA’s Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea

Links from Bonnie Werner, Guest Speaker at SMSA’s Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea
May 26, 2023

We would like to thank our Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea guest speaker Bonnie Werner who shared some valuable information with us about Gynaecological Cancer, especially Ovarian Cancer which she is currently researching during her wonderful talk. It was an engaging and insightful talk which left our audience wanting to learn more!

Bonnie has provided some links so that you can continue learning:

  •  To learn more about Gynaecological Cancer please visit,the website has an overview of all of the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group’s projects, fundraising links, contact information and FAQs about blood donations. It is an excellent first port-of-call for those wanting to learn more about Gynaecological Cancer and Endometriosis.
  • Follow the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group on Instagram – @gyncancerresearch
  • Follow Bonnie Werner on twitter (@Bonnie_Werner_) for key research updates on Bonnie’s research. Bonnie’s research focuses on ovarian cancer, with a special interest in ascites – a common symptom of ovarian cancer, characterised by a pathological accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. The goal of Bonnie’s research is to take advantage of the accessibility of ascites fluid (which is drained to relieve the discomfort it causes) by studying the DNA in the fluid to find disease drivers which can be targeted with precision medicines.
  • Learn more about Camilla & Marc’s Ovaries. Talk About Them. collection and campaign to raise money for the Gynaecological Cancer Research Group’s important research into Gynaecological cancer, specifically ovarian cancer. You can also buy an item from the Camilla & Marc Ovaries. Talk About Them. collection.

There were a few questions asked about endometriosis at the end of the talk after question time that Bonnie has kindly spent some time answering for us.

Please read on to learn more about endometriosis –

  1. Has endometriosis increased in modern times? Yes, diagnosis of endometriosis has certainly been increasing in modern years, as a result of increasing awareness of the condition, however we have no reason to believe that the condition was not as prevalent previously- just under diagnosed.
  2. Do you think that people always had endometriosis and it was just underdiagnosed? That is exactly right. This under diagnosis has a number of explanations: lack of awareness of the condition, fear and stigma around seeking medical help for gynaecological conditions and accepting debilitating pain or unusual symptoms as a normal part of life in people who menstruate (both by the people affected and health professionals), to name a few. Adding on to this, diagnosis of endometriosis is still a long winded expedition, even today it takes an average of 7 years to reach a formal diagnosis of endometriosis (from time of first seeking medical advice). That’s why one of our research goals is a simple diagnostic blood test for endometriosis which will help us get a more accurate picture of the prevalence of endometriosis and will help speed up diagnosis, getting people treatment sooner.
  3. Do you think there are any major factors contributing to more people having endometriosis? The reason there are so many more people with endometriosis than gynaecological cancers, is likely to do with the way it develops (though admittedly there is still some debate as to what that is) as there is mostly an agreement between scientists that all people are vulnerable to developing endometriosis but it is only when the right (or wrong) situations come together that it actually manifests in a way that causes problems/symptoms. A bit more specifically, a common theory for how endometriosis lesions form is that when people menstruate, not only does the endometrial lining exit the uterus through the vagina, but also through the fallopian tubes, entering the abdominal (or peritoneal) cavity, these endometrial cells then have the opportunity to stick down somewhere where they start to grow and invade. With that explanation, every menstrual cycle brings about an opportunity for endometriosis to start, explaining why it is so common. With that said there are also likely additional ways endometriosis forms, since endometriosis has been reported all over the body and in men.

We hope you enjoyed the event! See you at another SMSA event soon.


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