Gynecologic oncology Overview

Gynecologic oncology surgeons consult.

Surgeons who specialize in treating gynecologic cancers review a scan before surgery.

Gynecologic oncologists offer an integrated approach to the diagnosis and surgical management of women's cancers and complex benign gynecologic diseases. These include cervical cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cancer, pelvic masses, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer.

When you visit Mayo Clinic for one of these conditions, you will benefit from the collaborative care of an integrated team of specialists. Your gynecologic oncologist works with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center to provide leading-edge care to people who have not had success with an approved treatment. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States and the only such program in Arizona. You will have access to the knowledge and skills of physicians and researchers in every medical specialty and, where appropriate, to clinical trials for promising treatments under investigation.

Innovative treatment options

Your doctor will talk with you about a full range of effective, innovative treatment options. Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncology surgeons are expert in complex laparoscopic and robotic approaches, fertility-sparing surgery, and risk reduction procedures for inherited cancer syndromes:

  • Advanced laparoscopic surgery. This is an effective minimally invasive technique that has been shown to result in shorter hospital stays, less discomfort and a shorter recovery period.
  • Robotic surgery. This approach has the same advantages as advanced laparoscopy, and it allows surgeons to operate with increased precision and accuracy while minimizing trauma to surrounding tissues.
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT). This radiation technique is used to treat advanced cancers that are localized but have spread from the original tumor site in people who might otherwise have no treatment options. In IORT, the equipment is brought directly into the operating room, and a high dose of radiation is administered directly to the cancer site during surgery. Mayo Clinic is one of only about 10 medical centers in the world offering this treatment option.
  • Intraperitoneal chemotherapy. This technique involves the direct delivery of chemotherapy into the abdomen for treatment of ovarian cancer. National Cancer Institute research has shown intraperitoneal chemotherapy to provide a better survival advantage, compared with intravenous chemotherapy alone.

Genetic counseling

If you have a hereditary disease, such as cancer, you may want to talk with a genetic counselor to help you understand your risks and risk management options. If you have received a cancer diagnosis, you may have questions about the risk of other cancers occurring in your body and the risk of cancer developing in your family members. A genetic counseling consultation focuses on prevention of risk factors. It includes a complete family medical history evaluation, genetic testing (if applicable) and follow-up recommendations.

Coordination of care

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. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are managed in close collaboration with experts in Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology departments.

Your Mayo Clinic team will also work closely with your local doctor to provide a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs.

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May 25, 2018