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UPMC On TopicGynecologic Cancer: A team approach to care

UPMC Content 3

Joseph L. Kelley, MD
Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology

I think the advantage of coming to the program at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is the multidisciplinary care that is provided at our institution. We’ve assembled a team of physicians, nurses, geneticists, nutritionists, and social workers to help us in that process. 

And as a result of the collegial interaction amongst all these different specialties a comprehensive mode of treatment can be developed. 

Surgical solutions

Ovarian cancer is often suspected, but the diagnosis is truly not made until the surgery is performed. Those patients are referred in from our colleagues in the community who recognize the individual has an issue, seeks us out, and refers the patient to us. As a group we try to see all patients within 48 to 72 hours to improve access to care.

Minimally invasive surgery offers a patient a less traumatic experience. Smaller incisions are used, telescope like devices are placed into the abdomen, and these devices actually allow the physician to see better because it allows magnification of the surgical field, improves our dexterity, and then allows the patient to recover in a quicker fashion. It is absolutely equivalent with regards to outcomes or survival from cancers compared to conventional therapy. 

We often use intraperitoneal therapy and there is are two forms. There is what we would consider a standard form and then we also use a hyperthermic or heated form of chemotherapy.

Heated chemotherapy, which is a newer form of intraperitoneal therapy,  involves delivering the chemotherapy at the time of the surgical intervention as much of the tumor is removed and two devices are placed into the abdomen. The abdomen is closed and then heated. Chemotherapy is infused into the abdominal cavity over a period of 60 to 90 minutes.

Value of collaboration

One of the advantages of coming to UPMC, which is a large, comprehensive medical center, is that there are multiple disciplines, multiple specialists who have high levels of expertise that can participate in one’s care. 

The exchange of information amongst all the individuals involved in a patient’s care only enhances their care. 

I believe for patients who are diagnosed with a gynecologic malignancy this is the institution to be treated at within the region.

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