Two new studies presented this week at the Society
of Gynecologic Oncology’s annual meeting in Los Angeles stress the
importance of gynecologic oncology patients choosing experienced medical
centers and oncologists for their treatment.
According to a study led by researchers from UPMC CancerCenter, patients
with locally advanced cervical cancer have better treatment outcomes and are
more likely to survive the disease if they receive care at a high-volume
medical center (defined as centers that see 19 or more cases per year) than at low-volume facilities. The study tallied patient volumes from
medical centers tracked by the National Cancer Database.
|Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC|
Patients treated at
high-volume centers were 22 percent more likely to receive brachytherapy, the
recommended radiation treatment approach for advanced cervical cancer, and 9
percent more likely to receive the recommended chemotherapy. Overall, a patient’s risk of dying from her disease
dropped by 4 percent at a high-volume facility.
“Thanks to previous research, we’ve known that ovarian cancer
patients show improved outcomes if they receive their care from centers that
treat a high volume of cases each year,” said Jeff Lin, M.D., the study’s
principal investigator and fellow in the division of gynecologic oncology at
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. “This study indicates the same holds true for
patients with cervical cancer. Now we can act on that knowledge.”
Another study from the University of California-Irvine found
that only a third of women with ovarian cancer received “the best possible care.”
According to a New
York Time’s article about the study, cancer specialists say the main
reason for the poor care is that most women are treated by doctors and
hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex treatments
that can prolong life.
In Pittsburgh, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and the UPMCCancerCenter network make sure every patient diagnosed with cervical or ovarian
cancer has access to a team of oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and
other care providers to ensure state-of-the-art care.