The story of GOC is the story of a group of dedicated men and women who had the foresight and determination to fight for the recognition of this vital subspecialty, and develop the tools that would enable GOC to fulfill its mandate: to provide the best and most accessible possible cancer care for Canadian women.
Since its establishment, GOC has emerged as a major force in gynecologic oncology, increasingly being seen as the authoritative voice for the treatment of women with gynecologic cancers in Canada. As well, GOC has gained an international reputation for clinical work, educational development and research initiatives.
The history of GOC begins in 1979, when a small group of determined Canadian obstetricians and gynecologists got together to hammer out ideas for a new society focusing on gynecologic cancer care. They were Drs. Denny DePetrillo, Garry Krepart, Ralph Anderson, Robert Fraser, Alan Gerulath and Michel Roy. Drs. DePetrillo, Anderson and Roy spent the next few months drawing up bylaws.
In March 1980, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of Canada was incorporated. Its first annual meeting was held June 1980, in Jasper, Alberta, as part of the annual meeting of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC).
Despite growing pains during the initial years typical to the establishment of a new subspecialty, today GOC can be credited with the development of greater collaboration amongst the disciplines of gynecologic surgery and gynecologic medicine. Gynecologic oncology was recognized in 1989 by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, due in large part to GOC’s ongoing commitment to the development of practice guidelines, training standards and research goals in the area of women’s reproductive cancer care. Subspecialty certification examinations by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada began in 2010.
Today virtually all gynecologic oncologists practicing in Canada are members of GOC. Its membership reflects the multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care and includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, fellows-in-training, residents, nurses specializing in gynecologic cancer care, scientists and pharmacists who devote a significant amount of their practice to the treatment and research of gynecological cancer. GOC changed its name in 2009 to reflect this collaborative dynamic in Canada’s gynecologic cancer care reality.
In 2015, GOC celebrates 35 years as Canada’s only national forum and gathering point for all specialists trained in treating gynecological cancer. Future goals include:
- Broadening relationships with patient advocacy groups, such as Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC) and continuing to take part in fundraising events to raise awareness and financial support for gynecological cancers.
- Playing a larger and more proactive role in clinical trials with NCIC Clinical Trials Group in gynecologic oncology and with the pharmaceutical sector, and developing mechanisms for translating bench research into clinical trials.
- Expanding the GOC website to enhance resources for education and research, to create professional networks and information sharing amongst colleagues, and to develop web-based research projects.
In 2006, GOC published a book, available for download below, of its first 25 year history, 1980 to 2005.