At Holy Cross Health, procedures in gynecologic oncology are performed by gynecologic oncology surgical specialists. These surgeons routinely use minimally invasive surgery to stage the gynecologic cancer (determine if the cancer is confined to the organ or has spread) and to treat cervical and uterine cancers.
In addition, Holy Cross Hospital is serving as a research site for an innovative clinical study of gynecologic oncology surgery procedures that locate the sentinel lymph node (the node closest to the cancer) in patients with cervical and uterine cancers. Using robotic assistance, the surgeon removes the tumor and the nearest sentinel node. The information they gather from the tissue can minimize the amount of surgery the patient has to undergo.
Cervical Cancer: Patients with cervical cancer are most often treated surgically with a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix). Different types of hysterectomy might be recommended based on the extent of the cervical cancer. Surgery may be performed with an open incision in the abdomen, or using a minimally invasive technique, such as laparoscopy or robotic gynecologic oncology procedures. At Holy Cross Hospital, between 60 and 70 percent of these surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques.
Uterine Cancer: Surgery is the most common treatment for uterine cancer (also called endometrial cancer). The extent of the surgery depends on whether the tumor is contained in the uterus or has spread. The minimum surgical procedure is a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, cervix, and both fallopian tubes and ovaries. Often surgery also includes the removal of lymph nodes in the pelvis and abdomen.
Most hysterectomies for uterine cancer at Holy Cross Health are performed in a minimally invasive procedure. This surgery might be a standard laparoscopic procedure, in which the surgeon operates by using several small incisions, or a robotic assisted laparoscopy, in which instruments are guided by the surgeon through robotic arms.
Ovarian Cancer: Surgery is the main treatment for most ovarian cancers. What kind of ovarian cancer surgery performed depends on the type of tumor, the stage of the cancer, whether it has spread beyond the ovary and the patient’s general health. Minimally invasive surgery will be performed to stage the cancer to determine if it is confined to the ovary or has spread.
Surgeons will perform a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, as well as both ovaries and the fallopian tubes. Lymph nodes and tissue from the abdomen may be removed. The procedure can be performed laparoscopically. Ovarian cancers that have spread usually require open, abdominal surgery.
Vaginal Cancer: This type of cancer is treated with surgery to remove the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around the cancer. Minimally invasive surgery may be possible in cases where the disease isn’t widespread. Surgery may also include removing lymph nodes to check for signs of cancer. When the cancer has spread throughout the reproductive system, a hysterectomy will be performed to remove the ovaries, cervix and uterus.
For more information about Gynecologic Surgery at Holy Cross Health, please fill out our brief contact form or call Stephanie Heller, program director at 301-754-7501.
To find a physician or to make an appointment, search the physician directory or call 301-754-8800.