Gynecologic oncology is the term for cancers of the female reproductive tract, including the:
- fallopian tubes
- uterus and vagina
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Doctors who specialize in these cancers are gynecologic oncologists. The four gynecologic oncologists who are part of Maine Medical Partners - Women's Health and Gynecologic Oncology diagnose, stage and direct the treatment of patients with gynecologic cancers. These doctors are board-certified or board-eligible, and they are the only specialists in Maine to have undergone fellowship training in the advanced surgery and chemotherapy required to treat these cancers.
Receiving treatment from a specialist is important because studies show that women with gynecologic cancers who are treated by a gynecologic oncologist have a better likelihood of prolonged survival than those who receive care from a non-specialist. Gynecologic oncologists are not only trained to be skilled surgeons capable of performing wide-ranging cancer operations, but they are also trained in prescribing the appropriate chemotherapy and/or referral for radiation therapy when indicated. The radiation oncologist is part of the gynecologic oncology multidisciplinary team. This comprehensive approach translates into better patient outcomes.
The Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute's gynecologic oncologists also understand the life-changing impact of cancer and its treatments on all aspects of a woman's life including future childbearing, sexuality, and physical and emotional well-being, as well as the impact that cancer can have on the patient's family. Their aim is to treat a woman with respect, warmth and compassion throughout her cancer journey.
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Leading-Edge Diagnostic and Treatment Resources
Gynecologic oncology services include sophisticated diagnostic resources and a full range of medical, surgical and radiation therapy options, including:
- Evaluation and treatment of pre-invasive vulvar, vaginal and cervical diseases utilizing colposcopy, laser and loop electrosurgical excision procedures
- Complete surgical staging to ensure the most appropriate treatment protocol
- The expertise of a fellowship-trained gynecologic pathologist (a doctor who identifies diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope), ensuring the most accurate diagnosis and staging to optimize treatment
- The latest, most effective standard-of-care chemotherapy plans for gynecologic cancers, including intraperitoneal chemotherapy administration
- Advanced, minimally invasive surgical procedures, including robotic-assisted surgery for hysterectomies and staging. MMC is the first hospital in Maine with this capability
- Comprehensive gynecologic, bowel, urologic and reconstructive procedures
- Advanced radiation therapy techniques, including Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, which can more accurately target specific areas in the body
- Brachytherapy (internal radiation therapy) through which radiation implants are temporarily placed directly into or near a tumor to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal tissues
- Access to new therapies through the practice's active clinical trials program and participation in the national Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) cooperative
MMC Cancer Institute's gynecologic oncologists participate in a weekly meeting, called a tumor board conference, with specialists from the different disciplines, including surgery, radiation oncology and pathology. The specialists pool their expertise to explore all appropriate treatment options, including new therapeutic methods and to determine the most effective care pathway for individual patients.
In addition, patients and family members who are at high risk of certain gynecologic cancers are referred, as needed, to MMC Cancer Institute's Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic to explore the appropriateness of screening, genetics counseling and prophylactic (preventive) surgery.
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Clinical Patient Navigator
Nurse navigators coordinate care to schedule timely and efficient appointments, streamlining care in each step of the information-gathering process. For patients newly diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, the Clinical Patient Navigator serves as an information resource to help them understand their diagnosis and treatment options, what to expect during treatment, and aid in the decision-making process about which treatment to undergo. The Navigator also guides any patient with benign disease, a suspected diagnosis, or at high risk for a cancer diagnosis. The ultimate aim is to give each patient the time, support and information she needs to make the best decision that's right for her.
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Maine Medical Partners - Women's Health and Gynecologic Oncology
102 Campus Drive, Suite 116
Scarborough, ME 04074