Treatments and Support Services
At the Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service we are dedicated to supporting our patients through every aspect of care. Each patient’s care is led by one of our specialized gynecologic oncologists, backed by a medical team equipped to meet the full scope of each individuals treatment needs.
Our unique approach allows patients to keep the same specialist through: medical oncology, treatment of rare tumors, treatment for gestational trophoblastic disease, guidance with clinical trials and genetic counseling, management of care — including multidisciplinary care, supportive care, and chemotherapy — and more. Our gynecologic oncologists are also cross-trained in radical pelvic and upper abdominal surgery — including procedures of the bowel, bladder, spleen and liver — vulvar surgery and radical, minimally invasive surgery. Studies have shown that people treated early by a gynecologic oncologist tend to have better prognoses and better survival rates than those not treated by a gynecologic oncologist.
Your treatment may include:
Many people diagnosed with gynecologic cancer are candidates for surgery as their primary treatment. Surgical removal of a tumor, along with any other distant growths, can increase a persons chances of survival. We offer surgical expertise in both surgery for advanced cancer and innovative minimally invasive surgical approaches for early-stage disease.
Treatment for a gynecologic cancer can sometimes affect your ability to have children in the future. The Johns Hopkins Fertility Preservation Innovation Center opens up a range of options for patients undergoing cancer care to start a family post-treatment.
Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment. You may also hear it called radiotherapy or therapeutic radiology.
Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with beams of high-energy X-rays, gamma rays, or charged particles (called electrons or protons). It can be used in many ways. It depends on the type of cancer you have and where it is in your body.
Chemotherapy (chemo) is the use of strong medicines to treat cancer. It has been used for many years and is one of the most common treatments for cancer. In most cases, chemo damages the cancer cell's ability to grow and spread. Different groups of medicines work in different ways to fight cancer.
Chemo may be used alone for some types of cancer. Or it may be given with other treatments such as radiation or surgery. Chemo may also be used along with other cancer medicine treatments, such as targeted therapy, hormone therapy, or immunotherapy. Often a combination of chemo medicines is used to treat a certain type of cancer. These combinations are given in a certain order.
Chemo can work well to treat certain cancers. But chemotherapy medicines travel to all parts of the body, not just the cancer cells. So healthy cells can be damaged, too. This can lead to side effects during treatment. Knowing what these side effects are and that they can happen can help you and your caregivers prepare for and manage them.
Targeted cancer cell therapies are designed to specifically target tumor characteristics, either specific gene or protein changes or through one’s own immune system. This helps to stop the growth and spread of cancer by identifying and attacking cancer cells directly, while preserving normal cells.
Targeted cancer therapies offered at Johns Hopkins can also include:
Hormone Therapy - Also called hormonal therapy or endocrine therapy, hormone therapy uses the control of your hormone production to help stop the growth of cancers that rely on your hormones to grow.
Learn more about what hormone therapy is and how it works through the American Cancer Society. (NOTE: You are being redirected to an outside website for informational purposes only. Johns Hopkins is not responsible for any aspect of the external website.)
Immunotherapy - Cancer immunotherapy is a specialized targeted therapy that trains the body’s immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells, possibly resulting in longer-lasting remissions. See more below.
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own natural defenses to fight cancer by training the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Instead of targeting cancer cells directly, these therapies target immune cells in and around cancers. Some treatments increase the number of immune cells summoned to the tumor, and others unleash the commands that send the immune cells to work against it. Immunotherapy medications are specific to cancer type and are available to help your natural defenses learn to fight for you.
All patients receive comprehensive support and counseling to help them manage the emotional and lifestyle changes that accompany cancer.
Surgical Quality and Innovation
To provide our patients with the greatest chances for a successful outcome, we continuously innovate our surgical techniques as well as the quality of our care. Our survival rates for women with uterine and ovarian cancers are consistently above the national average. Through innovative surgical quality and patient safety programs, including a comprehensive initiative to bring more minimally invasive surgery to patients, we have significantly reduced our surgical infection, readmission and life-threatening blood clot rates.
Our patient satisfaction ratings also reflect our position among the top performers at Johns Hopkins, which we attribute to our exceptional nursing care, multidisciplinary clinical expertise, supportive services and outstanding patient outcomes. We strive to see patients within just a few days of referral, as we understand the stress of receiving a new cancer diagnosis.