Treatment Starts with the Right Diagnosis and Comprehensive Choices

Treatment Starts with the Right Diagnosis and Comprehensive Choices

Clinical Cancer Center Special Report 2013: The Cancer Researcher

As seen in: Clinical Cancer Center Special Report 2013: The Cancer Researcher
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Not all gynecologic cancers are the same. The treatment sequence and the expertise of the physicians make a significant difference to a patient’s outcome. Janet Rader, MD, FACOG, Medical College of Wisconsin gynecologic oncologist and chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology believes it all starts with the making the right diagnosis in the first place.

The Gynecologic Cancer Program team treats women with cancers of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vulva and vagina. The program offers advanced treatment options that are not available elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin.

“We have specialists in gynecologic oncology surgery, chemotherapy and radiation oncology,” Dr. Rader said. “Our pathologists are specially trained in gynecologic oncology, which impacts an accurate diagnosis.”

Coming up with the best treatment plan depends on having comprehensive options, including many clinical trials to choose from, provided by physicians with specialized expertise. “There are few gynecologic oncologists in this area who focus on treating malignancies as part of a fullservice team,” Dr. Rader said. “We offer treatment to fit each individual, including robotic and other minimally invasive options, and intraperitoneal chemotherapy where drugs are delivered through a tube into the abdominal cavity directly to the tumor. We also offer highly targeted radiation therapies that use image guidance for accurate delivery of radiation to the tumor. These include MR-guided high dose rate brachytherapy, and CT-guided external beam radiation, which is often used with Tomotherapy-based intensity modulated radiation therapy.

“Sometimes, the hardest thing for patients is making an informed decision,” Dr. Rader said. “We not only have a second opinion program, but we’ll also see patients within 24 hours during the week. Getting a second opinion can make a difference in terms of survival.”

Research Zeros in on Recurrent Ovarian Cancer

Physicians in the program have zeroed in on treating patients with the most challenging disease. “We’re focused on giving patients with recurrent ovarian cancer options,” Dr. Rader said. “One research goal is to better understand the most effective treatment sequencing and chemotherapy combinations to treat recurrent disease.”

Another clinical trial is studying markers in cervical and endometrial cancer to identify ways to detect cancer through blood or body secretions. “We are determined to find ways to detect these cancers early,” Dr. Rader said,“when they’re the most treatable and least devastating.”