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Specialized Team Tackles Gynecologic Cancers

Gloria Huang MD
Gloria Huang, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment and prevention of ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers.

All women are at risk for developing gynecologic cancers – cervical, uterine, endometrial, ovarian, vaginal and vulvar – and the risk increases with age. Fortunately, many gynecologic cancers can be effectively treated and, in some cases, prevented.

At the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center in Greenwich, the Yale Cancer Center gynecologic cancer team includes Allison Campbell, MD, a radiation oncologist; Beverly Drucker, MD, a medical oncologist; and Gloria Huang, MD, a gynecologic oncology surgeon. “Gynecologic cancers can be some of the most technologically challenging cancers to treat,” said Dr. Campbell.

An internationally known expert in the treatment and prevention of gynecologic cancers, Dr. Huang said some advanced cases require a multidisciplinary approach. “For early stage or low-risk gynecological cancers, surgery alone provides excellent outcomes,” she said. “Minimally invasive surgical techniques produce fantastic postoperative outcomes and a quicker return to full activity.”

Dr. Huang also works closely with genetic counselors to assist women and families with a hereditary predisposition for developing cancer. “We have effective ways to prevent ovarian cancer among patients who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and to prevent endometrial cancer in patients with Lynch syndrome, which also increases the risk of developing ovarian cancer.” Comprehensive cancer prevention care is coordinated with a multidisciplinary team that includes gastroenterologists, radiologists and breast surgeons.

Medical oncologists may turn to chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy to treat gynecologic cancers.

Radiation oncologists use two types of therapy – external beam and brachytherapy – to treat gynecologic cancers. “Both techniques use high energy photons to kill cancer cells,” said Dr. Campbell. Brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy where a sealed radiation source is placed inside or near the tumor. Both treatments are safe and effective.

Dr. Campbell said the proposed new Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Center in Greenwich would greatly benefit patients with gynecologic cancers. “It’s important to stay as current as possible.”