Ovarian Cancer Gynecologic Oncology
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A gynecologic oncologist specializes in treating women with ovarian cancer. Learn how we provide comprehensive oncology care to you throughout the course of your ovarian cancer treatment.
Gynecologic Oncology for Ovarian Cancer
The Gynecologic Oncology Program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center (Midwestern) specializes in treating women with cancer of the reproductive organs, including ovarian, cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers.
Dr. Sybilann Williams, an experienced gynecologic oncologist, leads this exceptional program.
Multiple studies1 have shown that women who have their initial ovarian cancer diagnosis and surgery done by a gynecologic oncologist are likely to experience fewer side effects from the surgery, and have a lower risk of ovarian cancer recurrence.
What Is a Gynecologic Oncologist?
A gynecologic oncology specialist is a medical doctor who receives an additional four years of training after completing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. During this training, he or she acquires highly specialized expertise to stage, diagnose and treat all types of gynecologic cancer.
A gynecologic oncologist is trained to perform surgical procedures to remove as much cancer as possible, while sparing healthy tissue. These procedures often involve nearby organs and may include: colon resection, splenectomy and removal of tumors from the diaphragm.
In addition to learning these specialized surgical techniques, a gynecologic oncologist is trained to provide chemotherapy and comprehensive oncology care to a woman throughout the course of ovarian cancer treatment.
How Is Ovarian Cancer Treatment Different at CTCA?
As a gynecologic cancer patient exploring treatment options at CTCA, you’ll meet with Dr. Williams and her physician assistant on your first visit. Dr. Williams and her physician assistant oversee every aspect of their patients’ care – from surgery and chemotherapy to nutrition therapy.
“We’ll spend about one and a half hours with you during that first visit, acquiring a detailed medical history, discussing everything going on with your health and performing a comprehensive physical exam,” Dr. Williams says. She and her physician assistant will also review your previous chemotherapies or other ovarian cancer treatments.
After reviewing your medical records and health history, and performing a pelvic exam, Dr. Williams will order the appropriate diagnostic tests to determine the best course of treatment. These may include imaging scans, as well as blood tests.
You will meet again with Dr. Williams, generally within two to three days of your first visit, to discuss the test results. She will share the treatment options that are available to you, as well as the ways in which supportive therapies can be incorporated into your ovarian cancer treatment plan.
Dr. Williams notes: “We really try to think outside the box. We individualize treatment using evidence-based medicine, tailoring a program to each patient. Your treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy or therapy with a monoclonal antibody. It all depends on your unique case and preferences.”
How Often Do I Get Treatment?
Once you’ve begun gynecological oncology treatment at Midwestern, you’ll meet with Dr. Williams or someone on her team approximately every three to four weeks in our Patient Empowered Care® clinic. Each time, you’ll undergo a comprehensive set of blood tests and a physical exam. Each visit, you’ll also see every member of your treatment team, including your dietitian, naturopath and care manager.
Fertility Concerns for Younger Women
We consider fertility issues for younger women, and we provide support for all women who experience sexual side effects as a result of ovarian cancer treatment, through our Survivorship Support program.
If you want to preserve your fertility during ovarian cancer treatment, your oncologist can discuss with you a variety of fertility-sparing procedures and whether they might be right for you.
1. Earle CC, Schrag D, Neville BA, Yabroff KR, Topor M, Fahey A, Trimble EL, Bodurka DC, Bristow RE, Carney M, and Warren JL. Effect of surgeon specialty on processes and outcomes for ovarian cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2006;98(3):172-80.
Next Topic: Surgery for Ovarian Cancer