A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Make an appointment: 800-826-HOPE
Gynecological Cancers Treatment Approaches Bookmark and Share

Our Treatment Approach to Gynecologic Cancers

City of Hope is at the forefront of gynecologic cancer treatment. For women needing medical intervention, we take a comprehensive and aggressive approach to treatment offering state-of-the-art surgical, medical, and radiation therapies, including many that are not yet available to the general public. Our supportive care and long-term follow-up programs help women and their families manage the process of treatment and recovery.

City of Hope uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat gynecologic cancers. Our surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and laboratory researchers collaborate closely throughout treatment to ensure gynecologic cancer patients receive the best care possible.
 
 
 
Surgery

City of Hope offers the latest advances in the surgical management provided by specialty trained gynecologic oncology surgeons. The scope of surgery is determined by the type, size, and location of the cancer.

For women with gynecologic cancers, in particular ovarian cancer, our goal is to locate and remove as much of the tumor tissue as possible. This type of procedure, known as “debulking” surgery, helps us to understand the extent of the cancer in the ovaries and elsewhere in the abdomen, and allows us to remove all of the visible cancer.  Ultraradical debulking, a surgery in which as much cancer as possible is removed, followed with chemotherapy gives patients the best chance of a cure. We are experts in this procedure.
 
When appropriate for patients, our specialists utilize minimally invasive surgery with advanced technologies such as laparoscopy and the da Vinci S Surgical System with robotic capabilities that allow for greater precision. We are one of a select number of gynecologic oncology programs in the country to routinely offer this surgery.  These surgeries feature small incisions, potentially less blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stay and recovery time, fewer complications, and a quicker return to normal activities.
 
Our team of world-class specialists offers the latest modalities for gynecological organ preservation, and we offer leading-edge fertility-sparing options for young women who want to preserve their fertility after treatment.
 
For women at high risk of developing gynecologic cancer, we offer a preventative surgery called salpingo-oophorectomy, which involves the surgical removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This procedure can reduce the chance of ovarian and related cancers by as much as 80% in women at high risk.
 
Medical Oncology
 
Medicines that slow or stop the growth of cancer cells are often included in a patient’s treatment plan. These drugs travel through the bloodstream and are able to kill any small cancer cells that have leaked into the blood and may take root in other parts of the body. We offer the best treatments available and are constantly investigating promising new treatments, including novel chemotherapies, endocrine therapies, and immunotherapies to help save the lives of our patients.

Patients with small tumors or early-stage gynecologic cancers may receive chemotherapy alone, or before or after surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery to help shrink the tumor. Adjuvant chemotherapy is administered after debulking surgery in order to “mop up” any remaining disease.  Patients may also be given hormonal therapies.

Patients with large primary tumors may be considered for neoadjuvant treatment. Patients with more advanced disease may also be candidates for new strategies developed to slow the spread of cancer. These may include combinations of standard drugs, investigational and targeted therapies or other options.
 
Intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy
We are one of only a select number of gynecologic oncology programs in the country to routinely use intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to treat ovarian cancer. IP chemotherapy and HIPEC deliver drugs directly into the abdomen during or after surgery. This type of chemotherapy can greatly improve the outcomes for women with advanced disease.
 
Radiation Therapy
 
Radiation therapy is often used in treating gynecologic cancers. It may be used as a stand-alone treatment for early-stage cancer, or in combination with surgery and other treatments in more advanced cases, to help reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. We also offer new investigational treatments for appropriately selected patients.
 
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. We use two types of radiation therapy used to treat gynecologic cancers:
 
  • External beam radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
  • Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters that are placed into or near the cancer.
     
The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
 
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT targets tumors with pencil-thin “beamlets” of radiation. By sculpting the radiation to precisely match the tumor’s contours, a higher dose can be delivered to the cancer while avoiding unnecessary exposure of healthy tissues. Treatment with IMRT may also minimize certain side effects.
 
Click on the links to learn more about treatments for cervical cancer,   endometrial/uterine cancer or ovarian cancer .
 

Gynecological Cancers Treatment Approaches

Our Treatment Approach to Gynecologic Cancers

City of Hope is at the forefront of gynecologic cancer treatment. For women needing medical intervention, we take a comprehensive and aggressive approach to treatment offering state-of-the-art surgical, medical, and radiation therapies, including many that are not yet available to the general public. Our supportive care and long-term follow-up programs help women and their families manage the process of treatment and recovery.

City of Hope uses a multidisciplinary approach to treat gynecologic cancers. Our surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, and laboratory researchers collaborate closely throughout treatment to ensure gynecologic cancer patients receive the best care possible.
 
 
 
Surgery

City of Hope offers the latest advances in the surgical management provided by specialty trained gynecologic oncology surgeons. The scope of surgery is determined by the type, size, and location of the cancer.

For women with gynecologic cancers, in particular ovarian cancer, our goal is to locate and remove as much of the tumor tissue as possible. This type of procedure, known as “debulking” surgery, helps us to understand the extent of the cancer in the ovaries and elsewhere in the abdomen, and allows us to remove all of the visible cancer.  Ultraradical debulking, a surgery in which as much cancer as possible is removed, followed with chemotherapy gives patients the best chance of a cure. We are experts in this procedure.
 
When appropriate for patients, our specialists utilize minimally invasive surgery with advanced technologies such as laparoscopy and the da Vinci S Surgical System with robotic capabilities that allow for greater precision. We are one of a select number of gynecologic oncology programs in the country to routinely offer this surgery.  These surgeries feature small incisions, potentially less blood loss, less pain, shorter hospital stay and recovery time, fewer complications, and a quicker return to normal activities.
 
Our team of world-class specialists offers the latest modalities for gynecological organ preservation, and we offer leading-edge fertility-sparing options for young women who want to preserve their fertility after treatment.
 
For women at high risk of developing gynecologic cancer, we offer a preventative surgery called salpingo-oophorectomy, which involves the surgical removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This procedure can reduce the chance of ovarian and related cancers by as much as 80% in women at high risk.
 
Medical Oncology
 
Medicines that slow or stop the growth of cancer cells are often included in a patient’s treatment plan. These drugs travel through the bloodstream and are able to kill any small cancer cells that have leaked into the blood and may take root in other parts of the body. We offer the best treatments available and are constantly investigating promising new treatments, including novel chemotherapies, endocrine therapies, and immunotherapies to help save the lives of our patients.

Patients with small tumors or early-stage gynecologic cancers may receive chemotherapy alone, or before or after surgery. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery to help shrink the tumor. Adjuvant chemotherapy is administered after debulking surgery in order to “mop up” any remaining disease.  Patients may also be given hormonal therapies.

Patients with large primary tumors may be considered for neoadjuvant treatment. Patients with more advanced disease may also be candidates for new strategies developed to slow the spread of cancer. These may include combinations of standard drugs, investigational and targeted therapies or other options.
 
Intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy
We are one of only a select number of gynecologic oncology programs in the country to routinely use intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to treat ovarian cancer. IP chemotherapy and HIPEC deliver drugs directly into the abdomen during or after surgery. This type of chemotherapy can greatly improve the outcomes for women with advanced disease.
 
Radiation Therapy
 
Radiation therapy is often used in treating gynecologic cancers. It may be used as a stand-alone treatment for early-stage cancer, or in combination with surgery and other treatments in more advanced cases, to help reduce the chance of cancer recurrence. We also offer new investigational treatments for appropriately selected patients.
 
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. We use two types of radiation therapy used to treat gynecologic cancers:
 
  • External beam radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer.
  • Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires or catheters that are placed into or near the cancer.
     
The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
 
Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
IMRT targets tumors with pencil-thin “beamlets” of radiation. By sculpting the radiation to precisely match the tumor’s contours, a higher dose can be delivered to the cancer while avoiding unnecessary exposure of healthy tissues. Treatment with IMRT may also minimize certain side effects.
 
Click on the links to learn more about treatments for cervical cancer,   endometrial/uterine cancer or ovarian cancer .
 
Quick Links
Gynecological Cancers News
Cooper Finkel Women’s Health Center
Many gynecological cancer and breast cancer  services at City of Hope are provided at the Rita Cooper Finkel and J. William Finkel Women's Health Center. Here, women receive the highest quality care, whether seeking prevention and screening services or coping with a cancer diagnosis.
The Sheri & Les Biller Patient and Family Resource Center embodies the heart and soul of City of Hope’s mission to care for the whole person.
As an leader in cancer research, our goal is to bring the latest scientific findings into medical practice as quickly as possible.
Medical Minute
Listen to the Medical Minute Gynecological Cancers with
Dr. Robert J. Morgan, co-director of the City of Hope gynecological cancers program.
 
NEWS & UPDATES
  • A hallmark of cancer is that it doesn’t always limit itself to a primary location. It spreads. Breast cancer and lung cancer in particular are prone to spread, or metastasize, to the brain. Often the brain metastasis isn’t discovered until years after the initial diagnosis, just when patients were beginning to ...
  • Blueberries, cinnamon, baikal scullcap, grape seed extract (and grape skin extract), mushrooms, barberry, pomegranates … all contain compounds with the potential to treat, or prevent, cancer. Scientists at City of Hope have found tantalizing evidence of this potential and are determined to explore it to t...
  • Most women who are treated for breast cancer with a mastectomy do not choose to undergo reconstructive surgery. The reasons for this, according to a recent JAMA Surgery study, vary. Nearly half say they do not want any additional surgery, while nearly 34 percent say breast cancer reconstruction simply isn’t imp...
  • The leading risk factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman. The second top risk factor is getting older. Obviously, these two factors cannot be controlled, which is why all women should be aware of their risk and how to minimize those risks. Many risk factors can be mitigated, and simple changes can lead...
  • All women are at some risk of developing the disease in their lifetimes, but breast cancer, like other cancers, has a disproportionate effect on minorities. Although white women have the highest incidence of breast cancer, African-American women have the highest breast cancer death rates of all racial and ethni...
  • First, the good news: HIV infections have dropped dramatically over the past 30 years. Doctors, researchers and health officials have made great strides in preventing and treating the disease, turning what was once a death sentence into, for some, a chronic condition. Now, the reality check: HIV is still a worl...
  • Screening for breast cancer has dramatically increased the number of cancers found before they cause symptoms – catching the disease when it is most treatable and curable. Mammograms, however, are not infallible. It’s important to conduct self-exams, and know the signs and symptoms that should be checked by a h...
  • Rob Darakjian was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at just 19 years old. He began chemotherapy and was in and out of the hospital for four months. After his fourth round of treatment, he received a bone marrow transplantation from an anonymous donor. Today, he’s cancer free.   In his previ...
  • In a single day, former professional triathlete Lisa Birk learned she couldn’t have children and that she had breast cancer. “Where do you go from there?” she asks. For Birk, who swims three miles, runs 10 miles and cycles every day, the answer  ultimately was a decision to take control of her cancer care. Afte...
  • More and more people are surviving cancer, thanks to advanced cancer treatments and screening tools. Today there are nearly 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States. But in up to 20 percent of cancer patients, the disease ultimately spreads to their brain. Each year, nearly 170,000 new cases of brain ...
  • Cancer cells are masters of survival. Despite excessive damage to their most basic workings and the constant vigilance of the body’s immune system, they manage to persevere. Much of this extraordinary ability to survive falls under the control of proteins bearing the name STAT, short for signal transducer and a...
  • One person receives the breast cancer diagnosis, but the cancer affects the entire family. Couples, in particular, can find the diagnosis and treatment challenging, especially if they have traditional male/female communication styles. “Though every individual is unique, men and women often respond differently d...
  • Here’s a statistic you’ll hear and read frequently over the next month: One in eight women born in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Although this statement is accurate, based on breast cancer incidence rates in 2013, it’s often misunderstood. Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., d...
  • This time of year, how can anyone not think pink? Through the power of pastel packaging, October has been etched permanently into the American public’s consciousness as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The color pink is now synonymous with breast cancer. Suffice to say, awareness has been raised. Now itR...
  •   Breast cancer facts: About one in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, behind skin cancer. An estimated 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women this year. Two of thre...