Gynecologic Cancer

Questions About Gynecologic Cancer?

We’re here to help. Contact our Nurse Navigator, Betsy Rice, MSN, RN,CBCN, at 203-276-CARE. Press 5.

While many gynecologic oncologists often concentrate on treating the cancer, our focus is on you as a whole person. We aim to help you through the many physical and emotional changes that a gynecologic cancer diagnosis may bring to relationships, sexuality, and menopause, while also addressing the needs of partners and families. 

What is gynecologic cancer? 

Why choose to treat your gynecologic cancer at Stamford Health? 

  • The most comprehensive Gynecologic Oncology program in Lower Fairfield County that includes access to the same clinical trials that the Yale Cancer Center provides, genetic counseling for high-risk women, ultrasonography, and screening for tumor markers.
  • Concierge-level care in an unhurried, personalized environment. We take the time to truly get to know you, address your questions and concerns, and to coordinate specialty care services.
  • A multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, geneticists, and other specialists collaborate to develop the best strategies to ensure the best possible outcome for each patient.
  • Stamford Hospital is one of a few hospitals in Connecticut that has a dedicated Gynecologic Oncology Tumor Board in which your entire care team meets to discuss each case to determine the best course of care.

What radiation therapy is used for gynecologic cancer? 

Our radiation oncologists use a wide variety of radiation delivery systems that treat gynecologic cancers including:

  • 3D conformal radiation
  • Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy. Brachytherapy involves the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans for placing radioactive seeds either into the cavity (intravacitary brachytherapy) or onto the tumor itself (interstitial brachytherapy). Radiation may be used alone or with other treatments to effectively treat gynecologic cancers.

When do you need gynecologic surgery for cancer?

Gynecologic cancers are often complex, so treatment options may include chemotherapy, intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy (for cancer that has spread throughout the abdomen), radiation therapy, immunotherapy (treatment with antibodies that target cancer cells), surgery, minimally invasive surgery including the da Vinci® Surgical System, or a combination of some or all of these options. Your specific treatment plan will be based on your unique needs and treatment goals. We offer the following gynecologic surgeries for:

  • Untreated gynecologic cancers
  • Complications and recurrences of gynecologic cancers (i.e., repair of pelvic support)
  • Benign gynecologic diseases such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, recurrent ovarian cysts, pelvic pain, or pelvic organ prolapse, all of which may require difficult surgical procedures

In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation can be used to shrink a tumor before surgery. They can also be used after surgery to help prevent a gynecologic cancer recurrence.

What support services are offered for those with gynecologic cancer? 

Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Program
Women with gynecologic cancer are often embarrassed or reluctant to discuss with their gynecologic oncologists how the cancer or its treatment has impacted their lives. In coordination with the Bennett Cancer Center, the Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Program enhances the physical and emotional lives of cancer survivors and their partners by fostering a safe place for women to share their thoughts and feelings, enabling us to work with them to develop an individualized care plan.

Sexuality and Cancer Consultation
We understand the impact of gynecologic cancer and its treatment on aspects of a woman’s life, including intimacy and sexuality. Dr. Elena Ratner, an expert in women’s cancers, cancer survivorship, and sexual health, provides patient consultations that address intimacy and sexuality concerns that may arise during or after cancer treatment. During the consultation Dr. Ratner will ask you about your sexual function and any pain or discomfort that you may be feeling as well as its impact on your quality of life. Dr. Ratner may consult with other specialists such as gynecologists, psychologists, physiatrists or physical therapists to formulate a treatment plan that may be comprised of combination of therapeutic modalities to find the best approach to address your needs.