Johanna’s Law: The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act Frequently Asked Questions

What is Johanna’s Law: The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act?

It is a law that allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to do an awareness campaign around the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers, including ovarian, uterine, cervical and vaginal/vulvar cancer.  For more information, see http://www.ovariancancer.org/johannas-law/.

Why do we need this law?

Almost half of the 78,000 women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer are diagnosed in later stages.  Most gynecologic cancers, including ovarian cancer, have symptoms, which can help a woman get diagnosed sooner.  For more on the symptoms of ovarian cancer, see http://www.ovariancancer.org/about-ovarian-cancer/symptoms/.

Who is Johanna?

Johanna Silver Gordon was an active, healthy woman who died of ovarian cancer. Johanna’s sister, Sheryl, first proposed the law in 2002 and continues to be a champion for awareness and education of ovarian cancer signs and symptoms.  To learn more, see http://johannaslaw.org/.

Didn’t we already pass the law?

The law was passed in late 2006 and signed into law by President Bush in January, 2007.  The bill that was passed allowed the CDC to do this work for three years.  Those three years are now over, and we must reauthorize the program.

Didn’t I ask my elected officials to support the law already this year?

Every year, whether or not a program is authorized, Congress must appropriate funds.  You may have asked your elected officials to sign a letter of support to fund the program.

What is different about the 2009 version?

There are three main changes in this year’s bill

  1. The law allows the CDC to work with national organizations to create materials, thus preventing duplication of work.
  2. The law allows the CDC to give grants to organizations to do awareness and educational work on gynecologic cancers.
  3. This version of the law would not expire in three years, and would continue as long as Congress and the Agency felt appropriate.

What can I do to help?

Your advocacy efforts can make a difference!  First, make sure that you are signed up to receive emails from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  We will alert you to opportunities for action.  Second, participate in Advocacy Day, or stay tuned for Virtual Advocacy Day options.  Third, join a local Partner Member to help take action and raise awareness in your community.

Where can I find more information about the implementation of Johanna’s Law?

At the CDC’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/knowledge/.