HAMPTON, Va. — September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, and one organization is doing their part to raise awareness about women's physical and mental health.
Project Nana Inc. encourages women, especially those who are older, to seek needed care and medical advice.
Through advocacy, workshops campaigns and events, they aim to address a growing problem in cancer rates for women.
“These women are missing years of preventative health tests that are critical to their well being. Consequently, cancer statistics now show women ages 55 and older are developing late stage gynecologic cancers that are difficult to treat. In too many cases, these women are dying from cancers that could have been treated in the early stages,” said Vanessa Hill, the founder of the organization.
Hill started the nonprofit after her grandmother was unexpectedly diagnosed with and died from stage four uterine cancer in 2010.
It's because of these statistics and her experience that Hill asks family members and friends of senior-aged women to encourage them to go get regular pelvic exams and screenings.
“These seasoned women have moved beyond childbearing years, beyond menopause; women who have stopped scheduling appointments with their gynecologists. Years ago, those appointments were the central time those women received Pap smears and were examined for pelvic issues,” Hill said.
This year, Project Nana is combining their mission with September being National Suicide Prevention Month.
On September 17 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Mind, Body, Spirit Wellness Fair and "Move for Mental Health Wellness" walk will be held at Hampton University.
The event hopes to combat stigmas that get in the way of access to care and to uplift both women and those who have died from mental illness.