What’s A Gynecologic Oncologist and Why Is It Important?

by Dana Demas

Multiple studies have suggested that women who have their initial ovarian cancer surgery done by a gynecologic oncologist are likely to have the right surgery. They're also likely to have fewer side effects from the surgery, such as a colostomy (the ovaries sit close to the intestines).

The trouble with ovarian cancer is there's no screening test for it. As a result, ovarian cancer tends to be diagnosed later in its course, once a pelvic mass has been discovered. In most cases, a woman has surgery to remove the mass and diagnose the cancer if it's present. A gynecologic oncologist specializes in performing these surgeries and in caring for a woman throughout ovarian cancer treatment.

We can all hope that earlier detection of ovarian cancer, coupled with the right treatment, will help us beat this disease. Symptoms women should be aware of include any of the following, which persist for a couple of weeks or more: bloating, changes in appetite, feeling full early, increase in abdominal girth, feelings of pelvic pressure in the lower abdomen and changes in urination.

If a woman is experiencing these symptoms, she should speak with her doctor about ovarian cancer being part of the problem - in addition to a gastrointestinal issue or other benign cause. As with any health issue, if the doctor isn't bringing it up, the patient should!