What is a gynecologic oncologist?

A gynecologic oncologist is a physician who specializes in malignancies of the female reproductive tract. The practice is limited to cancers or pre-malignant conditions, suspected cancers, and difficult or unusual cases that a referring physician might feel uncomfortable treating.

What type cancers are treated by gynecologic oncologists?

Cancers of the uterus/endometrium, cervix, ovary, vulva, and vagina.

How are these cancers treated?

Typically, most gynecologic cancers are treated with surgery (including advanced laparoscopy), radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these methods.

What will happen at my first office visit?

After registering, you will be accompanied to an exam room by one of our nurses. A detailed history will be taken followed by a physical exam by one of our physicians. After the exam, you may wish to have your family members or friends with you during the consultation to discuss your case. If surgery or further testing is needed, our staff will make the appropriate arrangements.

If surgery is indicated, what will happen on the day prior to surgery?

Pre-operative testing will be performed if it has not already been completed. This will be done in UK Hospital. In some situations, you may be asked to have a bowel prep (cleansing of the bowel) prior to surgery. If this is necessary, our staff will discuss this with you when scheduling surgery. You will be instructed to have nothing by mouth after 10:00 p.m. the night before surgery. You should take a shower the night before or morning of surgery with anti-bacterial soap and cleanse the surgical site and abdomen thoroughly.

How long will my surgery last?

Most surgical cases last 1-3 hours. The specifics will be discussed with you by your physician at the time of your visit.

How long will I be in the hospital following surgery?

Your length of stay will depend on the type of surgery that is done. The usual length of stay is one to three days.

What are my restrictions following surgery?

When you are scheduled for surgery, you will be given a surgery booklet that includes pre-operative and post-operative written instructions. These will be discussed with you at this time and reviewed with you again prior to discharge from the hospital. Post-operative instructions will include appointments, prescriptions, staple removal, hygiene, activity, diet, exercise, information about possible complications, and any special information about catheters / drains / tubes / wound care etc. Any special needs for home nursing care will be evaluated at the time that you are discharged.

When will I return to see my physician for a post-op visit?

An appointment will be made four to six weeks after surgery for your post-operative check.

When can I return to work following surgery?

Most women are able to return to work two to four weeks after undergoing surgery.

What complications should I be aware of after discharge from the hospital?

Chills or fever greater than 101, heavy vaginal bleeding, uncontrollable nausea / vomiting / diarrhea, or early signs of blood clots (redness, tenderness, swelling in the legs) are all possible complications and you should feel free to call us about these if they occur.

If additional treatment is needed for a cancer diagnosis, when will this be discussed with me?

Your physician may have your final pathology report and discuss it with you prior to discharge from the hospital. If you are eligible for clinical trials, your physician will discuss this with you at your post-operative visit.

Will I continue to see my primary referring physician?

Yes. Your referring physician will receive follow-up reports following your surgery and during any treatments so that we can keep up with your progress. Our physicians will keep in contact with your primary physician and at some point refer you back to them for continuing care.