Studies show that women with ovarian cancer who are treated by a gynecologic oncologist versus a non-specialized doctor have a better likelihood of prolonged survival. The reason? Gynecologic oncologists have extensive training and expertise in treating ovarian cancer, the deadliest of the gynecologic cancers and fifth cancer killer among women.
More familiar with how the disease is likely to spread, gynecologic oncologists make surgical decisions aimed at interrupting its savage progression. As the “team captain,” they coordinate and integrate all aspects of the woman’s cancer care and recovery according to their strategy to deal with the disease.
According to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation (GCF), gynecologic oncologists follow four years of medical school and four years of residence in obstetric s and gynecology with three to four years in a rigorous fellowship program in gynecologic oncology. They are described by the Women’s Cancer Network of the GCF:
“They 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 for those conditions and/or radiation therapy when indicated. They are often involved in research studies and clinical trails aimed at finding more effective and less toxic treatments to further advance the field and improve cure rates.”
The GCF reports that women treated by specialists had more radical surgery, which resulted in a median survival time more than twice as long as those operated on by general surgeons.
Unfortunately, we may only get one chance to make the choice. Try to make it the right one.
Note: There are only about 1000 board-certified gynecologic oncologists in the United States. Most are members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. Women can find a gynecologic oncologist by going online to www.wcn.org and clicking on the "find a doctor button." For more information about ovarian cancer, go to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance at www.ovariancancer.org.