Gynecologic Oncology

Since 1971, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology has certified physicians in the subspecialty of gynecologic oncology. These physicians receive a minimum of three additional years of training in all aspects of diagnosis and treatment related to gynecologic cancers. The specialized training can minimize the chances of under-treatment (failure to control cancer) or over-treatment (avoiding complications and expenses). Available scientific reports indicate that patients cared for by gynecologic oncologists have improved survival and fewer treatment-related complications. Gynecologic Oncologists are the physicians most experienced in the nuances of reproductive tract cancer surgery and in the selection and sequencing of treatment methods.

Treating some gynecologic cancers has become easier through the use of minimally invasive therapies, including state-of-the-art robotic technology. Robotic surgery is an evolution from minimally invasive laparoscopy, which is another service commonly offered at UTMB Health.

In both types of treatments, medical conditions are addressed using specialized equipment and small incisions. The da Vinci® surgical system is the robotic system used at UTMB Health. UTMB was a pioneer in the use of robotic surgery, installing the first da Vinci® unit in Texas or the southwest and serving as one of the five original training sites, more than a decade ago.

Today, UTMB offers the latest in robotic technology, with a new generation of equipment with enhanced capabilities, and expert surgeons skilled in the equipment's use.

Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Today, there are only a few gynecologic oncology programs that routinely perform advanced minimally invasive surgery (robotics or laparoscopy) for gynecologic cancer. At UTMB Health, our physicians and surgeons from across several disciplines are pioneering new techniques and performing other procedures on a routine basis.

When appropriate to use, robotics has several advantages over conventional MIS (laparoscopy), such as 3-D visualization, wristed instruments, and ergonomics. It also offers potential benefits over traditional surgery, including:

  • Information on Robotic SurgeryShorter hospital stay
  • Less pain and scarring
  • Less risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and fewer transfusions
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities
  • Improved quality of life
Services

UTMB offers minimally invasive and robotic surgery for hysterectomy for benign and malignant conditions including early stage endometrial, ovarian and cervical cancers.

Healthy cells normally multiply and grow and then die when the body no longer needs them. But cancer cells have lost their ability to die. Treatment for cancer focuses on either removing these cells or stopping them from growing.

Diseases We Treat

Ovarian Cancer:

There are no obvious symptoms for early ovarian cancer. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Uterine Cancer:

This refers to any cancer that occurs in the womb. Endometrial cancers form in the inner lining of the uterus. Uterine sarcomas may form in the wall of the uterus. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.

Cervical Cancer:

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that dilates when a woman has a baby. Abnormal cells can be detected with a Pap test. If the abnormal invade deeply into the cervix or other tissues, it is called cervical cancer. Treatment includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Vulvar Cancer:

The vulva includes all external portions of the female genitalia. The folds of the skin surrounding the opening of the vagina called the labia are most often affected.

Vaginal Cancer:

The vagina, or birth canal, connects the cervix and vulva. Vaginal cancers typically occur in women aged 60-80. The location and extent of the cancer determine the treatment. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are all options for treatment.

The information above is basic information about common gynecologic cancers. Every patient is unique. Your diagnosis or treatment might differ.

Our Services

Surgery:

Depending on the type of cancer, we offer minimally invasive procedures, including DaVinci Robotic surgeries as well as debulking procedures. We also specialize in advanced reconstructive and complex pelvic surgeries.

Chemotherapy:

We offer chemotherapy to patients based on current clinical guidelines.

Clinical Trials:

We actively participate in the Gynecologic Oncology Group, which is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. This gives our patients access to cutting edge medicine.

Radiation Therapy:

We coordinate care with Radiation Oncology for patients who require treatment.

Genetic testing:

We offer genetic testing to patients who are at high risk for cancer due to family history.

Survivorship:

We have a special interest in caring for you.We offer integrative oncology and support services throughout our Cancer Survivorship Clinic

Gynecologic Oncology Locations