Personalized care for gynecologic cancers
When you choose Ascension St. Vincent, you get a multidisciplinary team of doctors, prioritizing early and customized treatment: board-certified, fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, a care navigator, and a dedicated team of oncology nurses, dietitians, pelvic health therapists and cancer specialists. At Ascension St. Vincent, we provide comprehensive pelvic exams, and advanced diagnostic tests and treatments for all types of gynecologic cancers, including:
- Cervical cancer
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Fallopian tube cancer
- Uterine sarcomas
- Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN)
- Ovarian cancer
- Primary peritoneal cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
And noncancerous conditions including:
- Genetic risks to cancer, such as BRCA and Lynch syndrome
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) related conditions
- Pelvic masses
- Uterine fibroids (noncancerous growth in the uterus)
At Ascension St. Vincent in Indianapolis, our experienced gynecologic (GYN) oncologists are part of an integrated national network of doctors, sharing best practices and advanced treatment options for gynecologic cancer care – bringing the best of oncology to you, close to home.
When you’re going through gynecologic cancer care, we’re by your side
Cancer is personal, so is the way we care for you. When you choose Ascension St. Vincent Cancer Care, you’re never alone. You’ll have face-to-face visits with your doctor, and you’ll have an entire care team, dedicated to your care – connecting the dots for you. Your doctor and care navigator will take the time to answer all your questions – big and small. By getting to know you and working together, you get a care plan that’s customized to your needs. And with a plan, comes hope. Our goal is to help you recover faster so you can get back to home, family, life and self.
Team approach helps navigate tests and support services
Along the way, your care may require imaging, lab tests, pharmacy support, physical therapy or other specialists. You do not have to navigate your care alone. Upon your cancer diagnosis, or when you come to us during your cancer care, you’re paired with a cancer care navigator. Your care team/navigator will help you schedule appointments and connect with other services you need. When you have a concern or feel unsure, don’t hesitate to talk with your care team.
Benefits of our approach to gynecologic cancer care
Cancer specialists on your care team review your treatment and progress. They work together to customize your overall care plan to support your physical well-being and mental and emotional health. Ascension St. Vincent Cancer Care offers comprehensive gynecologic oncology cancer care, including:
Advanced surgical treatments – Surgeons are highly trained in innovative surgical approaches using robotic surgery, laparoscopic surgery, and other image-guided minimally invasive techniques to remove a tumor and preserve healthy tissue. For some women, laparotomy (an incision into the abdomen) and debulking (removing as much cancerous tissue as possible if it has spread) may be a treatment option.
- Cervical cancer – For cervical cancer treatment, gynecologic surgeons at Ascension St. Vincent use advanced surgical techniques to remove abnormal growths. If hysterectomy is recommended as part of your care plan, you and your doctor will discuss all options and what they mean for you. Ascension St. Vincent, specialists also offer treatment options for early-stage cervical cancer and for women of child-bearing years. Radical cervix removal (also called radical trachelectomy) may help preserve your fertility.
- Uterine cancer – This cancer, also called endometrial cancer, is the most common of the gynecologic cancers. Whenever possible, gynecologic surgeons at Ascension St. Vincent perform minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgery with the goal of removing tumors and sparing healthy tissue. If your surgery may impact your ability to have children, such as if hysterectomy is recommended as part of your care, you and your doctor will discuss all of your options and what they mean for you.
- Ovarian cancer – If you have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, your doctor may recommend a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. At Ascension St. Vincent, we offer advanced options for surgery.
- Other gynecologic cancers – Depending on your cancer and your specific needs, your doctor will work with you to create a personalized care plan. We offer advanced options in surgery, chemotherapy, immunology, radiation therapy, clinical trials, new therapies and more.
Genetic and molecular tests – Advanced genetic and molecular tests that identify abnormal cell growth can help your doctor analyze how your type of cancer may respond to different types of treatments or travel (metastisize) to distant organs. Genetic counselors help you better understand your risks and treatment options.
Imaging – Ultrasound, MRI and CT are common diagnostic tests for gynecologic cancers. At Ascension St. Vincent, we connect you with imaging that helps your doctor personalize your care plan.
Image-guided technology for biopsy and ablation – Our highly trained gynecologic oncologists use advanced imaging techniques for tissue biopsy. Image-guided ablation is used to help treat recurrent cancer that is detected in the tissue lining a reproductive organ.
Medical oncology – At Ascension St. Vincent, our gynecologic oncologist delivers advanced care, such as low-dose sensitizing chemotherapy to enhance the effects of radiation therapy. Systemic therapies are offered for advanced gynecologic cancers, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. Your gynecologist oncologist may also work with your medical oncologist close to home, so you don’t have to travel far for your treatments.
Radiation oncology – Advanced radiation therapies (brachytherapy, 3D conformal, IMRT, and SBRT) are used to target and destroy cancer cells while reducing the impact on the surrounding healthy tissue.
Clinical trials – If you want to learn more about other possible cancer care options, talk to your doctor. You may want to ask whether cancer clinical trials are the right option for you.
Oncology rehabilitation such as lymphedema therapy and pelvic therapy – Specially trained physical therapists deliver therapy to help relieve pelvic pain and lymphedema symptoms after surgery or radiation.
Support programs and resources – Your cancer care navigator and team provides support – from nutrition education and counseling to cancer support groups, yoga and spiritual care. And, at Ascension St. Vincent sites of care, our healing gardens and chapels are always open to patients and your loved ones. We offer supportive care and activities for the whole you.
Virtual care – Ask about virtual care (e.g, telehealth or online) appointments for your first consultation and as part of your ongoing care. You can have these virtual visits from the comfort of your home. You'll be able to talk with your doctor one-on-one via video from your phone or computer and get the care that's right for you.
Get a second opinion on your cancer diagnosis or care plan
Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan are right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension St. Vincent. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.
When you are facing a new gynecologic cancer diagnosis or are deciding on a surgical or therapeutic treatment plan, there’s a lot to think about. Our gynecologic oncologists can provide a second opinion, based on our experience and as part of an integrated national network of care.
Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to find out if a second opinion is covered. We can request your medical records on your behalf, so that they can be shared with your care team before your arrival.
Frequently asked questions about our gynecologic oncology care
What tests are used to diagnose gynecologic cancer?
Your care team focuses on identifying if the tumor is non-invasive or invasive, and to understand where the tumor began and whether or not it has spread. Diagnostic blood testing, imaging, physical exam, biopsy or diagnostic surgery help your doctor diagnose your condition, and stage even the most rare cancers. And we use advanced molecular studies to recognize cancer subtypes and genetic mutations, to create a care plan for your type of cancer.
Does Pap smear help detect cervical cancer early?
Getting regular pelvic exams may help find cervical cancer and other gynecologic cancers early, when they’re most treatable. Talk with your doctor about the screenings that are right for you, based on your age, family history and risk factors.
For cervical cancer screening, women in their 20s should begin getting a regular Pap test, also called a Pap smear. In your 30s and as you age, women should continue getting the Pap test and add the HPV test, as recommended by your doctor. When you choose a women’s health specialist at Ascension St. Vincent for your care, you are connected to all the care you need – from routine screenings to advanced care. Find a gynecologist.
What is your gynecologic oncology clinic known for?
Your doctor and care team get to know you well, and you’ll receive care for the whole person – your physical and mental health. We also provide compassionate, personalized support for your family and caregivers. We diagnose and treat all types of gynecologic cancers and deliver care including surgery, radiation therapy and targeted medication therapies. When you choose Ascension St. Vincent, you get experienced cancer specialists who are part of a national network, sharing best practices and the latest in cancer care knowledge and research.
At Ascension St. Vincent, we provide comprehensive tests, pelvic exams and treatments for gynecologic cancers, including:
- Fine needle biopsy
- Gynecologic surgery, such as hysterectomy
- Lymph node dissection
- Immunotherapy and advanced targeted drug therapy
- Medical oncology
- Radiation oncology
If your care may impact your ability to have children, you and your doctor will discuss all of your options and what they mean for you. Together we’ll develop a care plan that’s right for you.
Talk with your doctor about pelvic reconstruction options after a gynecologic surgery. Your doctor and care team will connect you with a surgeon to learn about procedures to help rebuild pelvic organs, such as the bladder, vagina or pelvic floor.
Who is on my cancer care team?
Hearing the word cancer comes with a lot of thoughts and emotions, and we’re ready to support you. You'll meet with your doctor to discuss your diagnosis and your care options. Your care team may include:
- Genetic specialist
- Gynecology oncologist
- Medical oncologist
- Radiation oncologist
- Oncology-certified nurses, dietitians and social workers
- Oncology-certified pharmacist
- Palliative care specialist
- Rehabilitation lymphedema therapists and pelvic floor therapists
Who should I call when I have questions?
When you choose Ascension St. Vincent for your cancer care, you get an entire team dedicated to your care. A navigator will be assigned to you from the beginning of your appointments as a point of contact. You may have a lot of concerns and questions. Your doctor and care team are ready to listen and answer your questions. Working together, we offer services that help support your treatment plan, including managing pain and other symptoms, medications, appetite changes, sleeplessness, fatigue and mood changes. Your entire care team stays connected throughout your care to discuss your treatment and progress.
Is financial assistance and support available?
We can connect you with resources and programs that may be able to help you and your family with options for financial assistance. Our financial counseling team is here to listen to your concerns and work with you to help find options that meet your needs. Your cancer care navigator can connect you to a financial counselor.
Where do I park?
At Ascension St. Vincent, we offer convenient parking, by a valet if needed. Talk to your care navigator if you have transportation needs.
My doctor told me about an enhanced recovery program, what is that?
Surgical oncologists and anesthesiologists provide enhanced recovery pathways as part of your surgical care plan. They are an important part of our cancer treatment programs. Each pathway is personalized for different types of cancer treatment, to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Your care team uses these protocols to help you prepare for what to expect before, during and after surgery.
All registered marks are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved.