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Expertise on the Ovarian Cancer Healthcare Team


Robert L Coleman, MD: The Society of Gynecologic Oncology, The American Society of Clinical Oncology, and our European colleagues have all recommended that a patient who has a suspected diagnosis of ovarian cancer should be seen by a gynecologic oncologist. There’s many reasons for this. One is that the gynecologic oncologist brings a surgical perspective into the picture. Patients who are newly diagnosed should have an adequate assessment of whether or not surgery is indicated. Some of this has to do with different healthcare systems around the globe. But we’re seeing that there is, often times, either the inability or the unfamiliarity of the importance of surgery in primary ovarian cancer treatment. Then, patients are triaged to neoadjuvant chemotherapy.

As part of the treatment team, even if a gynecologic oncologist isn’t going to be administering the chemotherapy after surgery, or at any point down the line, it’s important that there be an appropriate surgical consultation before the patient starts a chemotherapy strategy.

It’s important to have gynecologic oncology representation as part of the team that looks at the data that would support using or bringing new therapies, as they arise out of our clinical trials, to the formulary, or to the hospital, or to the clinic. We conduct these large trials as a cooperative group, in most cases. Or, we conduct them along with industry to help identify the right patients under the right circumstances for the right duration of treatment. I think that the gynecologic oncologists, many of whom have participated in these trials extensively, can bring the understanding of that to the group. That expertise is really vital to understanding where these new compounds should be positioned and how they should be delivered.

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