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Study on economic burdens of endometrial cancer wins APEC Healthy Women Prize

    • Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy

SINGAPORE – A study investigating the global burden of endometrial cancer, one of the most common cancers affecting women, has won the 2023 APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Research Prize.

Announced on the margins of the APEC Women and the Economy Forum in Seattle, the winning research by Dr Jason Junjie Huang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion found a significant link between higher incident rates of endometrial cancer and economies with higher GDP per capita and human development index.

Dr Huang’s research highlighted that many of the risk factors that contribute to endometrial cancer are lifestyle choices–including smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity – and that the disease burden increases in the absence of early detection and screening programs.

“Endometrial cancer is a growing global health concern for women with incidents and mortality rates showing a substantial upward trend over the past decade,” said Dr Huang.

“Education campaigns are a critical tool for raising awareness of the modifiable risk factors to endometrial cancer, and investing in preventive measures and early detection can further reduce the incidence,” Dr Huang added.

The winning researcher receives USD 20,000 and the two runners-up receive US$5,000 each.

Rahayu Mohamad of Singapore and Weiyu Zhou of China were the runners-up for this year’s prize. Rahayu and her colleagues at the Singapore Alliance for Women in Ageing conducted research that responded to the frequent exclusion of older women in policies. The work resulted in 25 action plans that recommend equal opportunities in the workplace, recognition and support for caregivers, protection against violence and harm, and encourage mindset shift, among others.

Zhou’s research underscored the importance of education campaigns to protect working-age women from preventable disease. Her study investigated a new pilot program on human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization involving mothers and girls aged nine to 14 in Shanghai, China.

“Empowering women’s health and well-being is a smart economic decision, as healthy women contribute substantially to workforce productivity, economic growth and sustainable development. It is also fundamentally the right thing to do,” said Chantelle Stratford, chair of the APEC Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy.

The APEC Healthy Women Healthy Economies Research Prize aims to spur the creation of sex and gender-disaggregated data. Supported by the healthcare business of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany, the award was launched in 2019 by then Chilean president Sebastián Piñera to spotlight much-needed data and evidence that enable women to join, rise, and thrive in the workforce.

“In the APEC region, empowering women to unleash their complete economic potential hinges upon their access to inclusive health services and this demands a holistic societal effort,” stated Hong Chow, executive vice president and head of China and International for the healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

“With APEC Healthy Women, Healthy Economies, we strive to foster cooperation among stakeholders to tackle the utmost necessities of women and girls and enabling them to fulfill their true capabilities so that they can contribute to strengthening the economy,” Chow concluded.



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