Gynecologic oncologists diagnose and treat cancers of the female reproductive system. They provide comprehensive cancer management, diagnostic expertise, radical pelvic surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy for women's cancers including:
In most cases, surgery is the first step in treating a gynecologic cancer. The goal is to remove the tumor and determine whether the cancer has spread. In early stages, surgery and possibly radiation treatment may be all that is needed. Once the cancer has spread, chemotherapy, hormones or biological agents usually become necessary. Advanced local disease or spread of the tumor to just the pelvis usually requires pelvic radiation, which can be combined with chemotherapy to improve treatment results.
Gynecologic oncologists work closely with doctors in hematology/oncology and radiation oncology. They discuss each woman's treatment, new developments and research aspects of gynecologic oncology. Doctors who specialize in this field have three to four years of advanced training.
For information on the Hope & Healing support group for women who have gynecological cancers and their caregivers, visit support groups at Mayo Clinic.