Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Carla Williams, MD agreed to participate in an interview with Today’s WI Woman and spoke extensively about Ovarian Cancer, along with her integrated team. In addition, Dr. William’s explained the symptoms and possible treatment options for Ovarian cancer patients.

Dr. Williams feels passionately that woman need to be more aware of their bodies and the symptoms that you so appropriate say “whisper” – we hope this video will help at least one woman be proactive about her health and help save a life!

Click here to view the video. You will need Adobe Media Player to download and view.

What Is A Gynecologic Oncologist?

A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of women with cancer of the reproductive organs.

After completing a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncologists must complete an additional three-year fellowship specializing in pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions of the GYN tract. Surgical skills required to properly stage and remove the majority of the tumor, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy techniques are learned and practiced at the highest skill level.

This training uniquely qualifies gynecologic oncologists to care for women with cancer of the reproductive tract.

To find a Gynecological Oncologist within the U.S.A., visit www.ovarian.org


Survival Rates Improve With Gynecologic Oncologist

A 1999 Scottish study showed significant benefits for women treated by gynecologic oncologists, especially for the 44% of women who present at Stage III.

●This study, based on 621 deaths over seven years, showed a reduction in death rates of 25% for those women operated on by a gynecologic oncologist, and a 32% increase in death rates for women operated on by other surgeons. In addition, women treated by a gynecologic oncologist showed mean survival rates one-third longer than those treated by OB/GYNs. The authors of this study suggest that the incredible success rates of gynecologic oncologists are probably due to three factors: 1) The extent of surgery, 2) More success in removing the majority of the tumor and 3) More effective chemotherapy.\

This 1999 study also showed that women with Stage III cancer treated by gynecologic oncologists had a mean survival of 18 months compared with 13 months for those treated by gynecologists.

●Since 66% of ovarian cancer deaths occur in women with Stage III disease, any improvement in this group makes a substantial contribution to overall improvement in survival for women with ovarian cancer, and would justify the need for gynecologic oncologists.

Five-year survival and disease-free intervals for women whose surgeon was a gynecologic oncologist far surpass the rate for women treated by non-oncologist, OB/GYN groups.

●Women whose surgery was performed by a gynecologic oncologist had five-year survival rates after surgical treatment only, which parallel those rates found in studies of women utilizing radiation or chemotherapy in addition to their surgery. One reason behind these startling statistics is the fact that frequently, non-oncologic surgeons overlook ovarian malignancy in the pre-operative clinical diagnosis of a pelvic mass.

Junor, E.J., Hole, D.J., McNulty, L., Mason, M., Young, J. Specialist Gynaecologists and Survival Outcome in Ovarian Cancer: A Scottish National Study of 1866 Patients, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 106, 1130-1136 (1999).

Mayer, A.R., Chambers, S.K., Graves, E., Holm, C., Tseng, P.C., Nelson, B.E., Schwartz, P.E. Ovarian Cancer Staging: Does it Require a Gynecologic Oncologist?, Gynec. Oncol. 47, 223-227 (1992).

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