To a Gynecologic Oncologist
Many women are not really aware with what a gynecologic
oncologist is unless they or their family members have
been referred to a gynecologic oncologist because it is suspected
that they could have gynecologic cancers such as an undetermined
ovarian mass that looks suspicious.
A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who
specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the
female reproductive system, including cervical, ovarian, uterine,
vaginal and vulvar cancers. To become a gynecologic oncologist,
a physician must complete four years of medical school followed
by a four-year residency program in obstetrics and gynecology,
and an additional three- to four-year clinical fellowship in
gynecologic oncology. This specialized training includes mastering
highly technical surgical procedures, administering chemotherapy,
and learning the techniques of radiation therapy.
Women with gynecologic cancers have much better
outcomes with a gynecologic oncologist so it is important for
them to be treated by a gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic
cancers are complex and treatment often involves multiple modalities
such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A gynecologic oncologist
is specially trained to diagnose and treat these types of cancers,
as well as premalignant conditions that lead to gynecologic
cancer. They see women with gynecologic cancers every day, and
have developed the skills and judgment required to perform procedures
on the reproductive system.
Many women care about their modesty and prefer
female gynecologists. Many female gynecologists will refer their
patients to a male gynecologic oncologist and it may take modest
female patients off guard because they are so worried about
having cancer. Women with possible cancers especially ovarian
cancer are often vulnerable because they are so worried they
could have cancer and they put modesty aside for at least a
while until they really think about it. Women should
not sacrifice their modesty even for cancer or possible cancer.
Some major cities in the United States do not
have a female gynecologic oncologist. For example, as of May
2018 there is only one female gynecologic oncologist in the
entire state of South Carolina in Charleston. Most small towns
do not have a gynecologic oncologist so women often have to
drive to the closest big city to see a gynecologic oncologist.
One of the largest cities in America only has two female gynecologic
oncologists and many male gynecologic oncologists as of May
2018. This poses a serious problem for modest women who want
an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist as soon as possible.
It’s often easier and quicker to schedule an appointment
with a male gynecologic oncologist if there are two or three
male gynecologic oncologists and only one female gynecologic
oncologist at an oncology clinic. Sometimes, a female gynecologic
oncologist could have a waiting list.
If your gynecologist refers you to a male gynecologic
oncologist, firmly tell her no and that you will not accept
a male gynecologic oncologist. She may make some arguments about
you using a male gynecologic oncologist because: 1.)
He is the best in the area. 2.) He
has a lot of experience and has a lot of great reviews from
patients she referred to him. Those arguments do not change
the fact that he is male. You must be willing to travel farther
to see a female gynecologic oncologist who can take you as a
patient, perhaps spending the night away from home. There are
many wonderful female gynecologic oncologists out there.
We encourage all women
who have to see a gynecologic oncologist to take the following
1.) Always make sure that you will
have a female doctor or mid-level provider before you change
into your gown even if your appointment was made with a female
provider. A male doctor could fill in for a female doctor at
last minute without your knowledge.
2.) Some female doctors allow male medical
students to observe procedures so you need to have it in writing
that you do not give consent to medical students being part
of your appointments.
3.) If it is recommended that you have a hysterectomy
or a gynecological surgery, you should do research to make sure
it is absolutely necessary. Also, you may want to consider getting
a second opinion from another female gynecologic oncologist
about your condition before you move forward with surgery. The
second opinion must be from a gynecological oncologist in a
4.) If you require surgery, take time to read
the article, Concerns About
Modesty During Hysterectomy to find out what steps you will
need to make sure your wishes for modesty during surgery are
honored. You discuss your concerns about modesty with your gynecologic
oncologist and share this wonderful
testimonial of a female gynecologist in Minnesota who accommodated
a patient’s wishes for modesty for a hysterectomy.
importance of finding a specialist for gynecologic cancer
is a gynecologic oncologist?
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