Every six minutes, a woman finds out she has a form of gynecologic cancer. The most common types of cancer that begin in the female reproductive organs are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. Women of all ages are at risk, but gynecologic cancers become more common after menopause.
Early detection and treatment is key to survival. At Summit Medical Group MD Anderson Cancer Center, we offer a continuum of care from diagnosis to treatment and survivorship. Our dedicated gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist and surgeon who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of all cancers and pre-invasive diseases that affect the female reproductive system.
SERVICES WE OFFER
We recognize that every woman’s cancer is different. That is why our team works with each patient and their family to develop an individualized treatment plan. As part of our partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center, we have access to the latest and most advanced therapies for each type and stage of gynecologic cancer.
Our goal is to provide a seamless approach to care that offers comfort and convenience for patients during one of the most difficult times in their lives. Typically, treatment begins with surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and tissue. Our gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Darlene Gibbon, is one of the few surgeons who will also follow patients through chemotherapy treatment. Dr. Gibbon is also Board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine.
We specialize in:
- All types of surgery to remove cancerous tumors and tissues
- Minimally invasive surgical techniques when appropriate
- Complex gynecological procedures
- Chemotherapy management
- Partnering with the radiation oncology team
- Fertility preservation
- Treatment of pre-invasive diseases of the cervix, vulva, and vagina
- Collaborating on colorectal, urogynecology, and urology surgical procedures if needed
RESEARCH AND CLINICAL TRIALS
We are constantly discovering innovative new therapies for cancer that can more aggressively treat the disease and improve quality of life, such as managing the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy treatment. Our patients have access to select clinical trials and research studies available at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
WE TREAT THE ENTIRE PATIENT
With access to more than 80 medical specialties and services, our physicians work across disciplines to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care. A cancer diagnosis can cause significant hardship for patients and their families. It is our goal to not only treat the disease, but also manage any mental health concerns and/or social needs. We offer:
- Nutritional services
- Cognitive behavioral health and social work services
- Integrative medicine including acupuncture and massage therapy
- Palliative care
- Educational programs
DISCUSS ANY SYMPTOMS WITH A PHYSICIAN
Listen to your body. Some gynecologic cancers have warning signs. Talk to your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms such as:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Back, abdominal, or pelvic pain/pressure
- Vaginal itching or burning
- Changes in the appearance of the vulva, such as unusual colors, rashes, or sores.
- Changes in bathroom habits, such as urinating more often
- Feeling excessively tired
- Unexplained weight loss or lack of appetite
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREVENT GYNECOLOGIC CANCERS
- Report any symptoms to your physician
- Schedule a yearly check-up with your gynecologist and ask if it is time for a PAP smear — this test can identify cervical cancer in its early stages
- Be screened for the human papillomavirus (HPV) – HPV infections can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer
- Get the HPV vaccine (Gardasil) if you are between the ages of 13 and 26.
- Know your family history and discuss it with your doctor