What is gynecologic oncology?
Gynecologic oncology focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive organs, including the ovaries, endometrium, uterus, cervix, fallopian tube, peritoneal, vagina and vulva.
A gynecologic oncologist 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. In addition to performing specialized surgical procedures, a gynecologic oncologist is trained to provide chemotherapy and comprehensive oncology care to a woman throughout the course of cancer treatment.
Our Gynecologic Oncology team provides innovative treatments to women with cancer of the reproductive organs, including cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers. We specialize in advanced surgical techniques to remove cancer, while sparing healthy tissue.
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.
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.
Gynecologic oncology for ovarian cancer
As a gynecologic cancer patient exploring treatment options at CTCA, you’ll meet with a gynecologic oncologist on your first visit. Your gynecologic oncologist will discuss everything going on with your health and spend as much time as needed addressing your questions and concerns.
After reviewing your medical records and health history, and performing a pelvic exam, your gynecologic oncologist will order the appropriate diagnostic tests to determine the best course of treatment. These may include biopsies and imaging scans, as well as blood tests.
You will meet again with your gynecologic oncologist, generally within two to three days of your first visit, to discuss the test results. At that time, we will discuss the treatment options available to you, as well as the ways in which integrative oncology services can be incorporated into your treatment plan.
Our gynecologic oncology team really tries 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 your ovarian cancer treatment, you’ll meet with our gynecologic cancer 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. You’ll also see every member of your treatment team, including your dietitian, naturopathic clinician and care manager.
Fertility concerns for younger women
For women with early ovarian cancer, fertility-sparing surgery may be a treatment option. 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 gynecological oncologist can discuss with you a variety of fertility-sparing procedures and whether they might be right for you.