Pap smears reduce life-threatening cervical cancer by as much as 90%. Learn more in this video from Marcela del Carmen, MD, Gynecologic Oncologist at the Mass General Cancer Center.
Center for Gynecologic Oncology
If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our doctors, please call the Center for Gynecologic Oncology at 617-724-4800.
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Explore the Cervical Cancer Treatment Program
We combine research, technology and an advanced understanding of cancer diagnosis and treatment to tailor your care to the individual characteristics of your disease. This customized approach is the future of cancer care.
Each year, we treat thousands of patients with rare or common forms of cancer. Studies show that this high level of experience improves outcomes for patients. Specialization also improves outcomes. Our medical experts are sub-specialized by cancer type. Many of our approaches are only available at a few other hospitals in the country.
Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Cancers
Our pathologists are sub-specialized in identifying gynecologic cancers, leading to more accurate diagnosis and staging. This forms the basis for your treatment.
Our gynecologic cancer pathologists are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of cervical cancer. They participate in tumor board meetings, sharing information about each patient's unique cancer with the entire treatment team to help guide care planning.
Our radiologists offer all options to diagnose and accurately stage gynecologic cancer, including:
They also offer promising novel imaging approaches and have extensive experience performing image-guided procedures like CT-guided biopsy.
In addition to traditional chemotherapies, our medical oncologists offer innovative approaches including:
- Novel therapies for drug-resistant tumors
- Access to leading-edge therapies through clinical trials conducted collaboratively with hospitals in the Harvard system and nationally with the Gynecologic Oncology Group
- Chemotherapy to help boost sensitivity to radiation
- Oncologists and specially trained nurses provide personal attention and advice on coping with side effects. Acupuncture is available to help manage side effects
Excellence in Surgical Care
Studies show that generally the less invasive the surgery, the faster the recovery. For patients needing cervical cancer surgery, our specialized surgeons offer minimally invasive and traditional surgical techniques including:
- Minimally invasive robotic assisted surgery
- Laparoscopic surgical techniques
- Fertility-sparing surgery
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
Patients are usually seen within one week of referral.
Your personalized treatment plan will be developed by experts from an array of gynecologic cancer specialties. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your cancer, this treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these therapies.
The specialists involved in your care may include:
- Medical Oncologists to prescribe the most effective chemotherapy treatments and discuss available clinical trials
- Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the highest therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
- Surgical Oncologists experienced in the latest minimally-invasive gynecologic surgery approaches
- Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who specialize in cancer care
- Pathologists specializing in gynecologic cancers who provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer
- Radiologists specializing in gynecologic malignancies that help guide the selection of appropriate imaging tests and provide accurate interpretation
- Oncology psychiatrists and social workers experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
- A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
- Palliative care providers to improve quality of life
Pioneering Radiation Therapies
Our specialized radiation teams offer a full spectrum of radiation treatments for cervical cancer including some approaches available at just a few other hospitals in the U.S. including:
- Proton beam radiation therapy that pinpoints tumors with precision
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which delivers different doses of radiation to different parts of a tumor simultaneously
- Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) to deliver radiation directly into the tumor area during surgery
- Concurrent chemoradiation
- Preservation of sexual function with conservative surgery and chemoradiation
- Outpatient brachytherapy to deliver radiation near or directly into the tumor using tiny internally implanted radiation sources
Clinical trials are research studies of new drugs, new combinations of drugs or already approved drugs being studied to treat patients in new and different ways. They may include new drug doses or new ways (schedules) to give the drugs. Clinical trials are run under strict guidelines. Their purpose is to help find out whether new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard (current) treatment. At Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, there are several clinical trials open for the treatment of cervical cancer that use the latest in cancer treatments.
Cancer is increasingly becoming a disease in which the genetic make-up of each individual cancer drives therapy. The Center for Gynecologic Oncology also has access to clinical trials involving these targeted therapy approaches.
Meet the Team
At the Center for Gynecologic Oncology, our multidisciplinary team of gynecologic cancer specialists provides individualized care and compassionate support services for women with cervical cancer. We consider patients and the family and friends involved in their care to be part of this team.
Cancer is caused by malignant (cancerous) cells that grow and multiply without control. When cancer begins in the cells lining the cervix (the lower, narrow part of a woman's uterus), it is called cervical cancer.
A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.
We offer a wide range of integrative therapies, workshops and support groups.