At John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center—New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive cancer center—women of all ages with gynecologic cancers receive comprehensive care from an experienced team of compassionate and skilled gynecologic oncologists. Our team understands the effects these cancers and their treatment can have on fertility and quality of life. We consider your concerns when putting together your treatment plan to create an effective approach that addresses your personal needs and preferences and your plans for the future. We also participate in multiple clinical trials of innovative treatments, offering you opportunities you may not have elsewhere. Making an appointment is easy, and we are often able to see patients within one to three business days of calling.
Nationally Certified to Provide Exemplary Care
John Theurer Cancer Center is one of only a handful of hospitals in the United States to receive Disease-Specific Care (DSC) Certification in gynecologic cancer care from The Joint Commission. DSC certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to meeting certain performance standards.
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a sophisticated robotic platform, which provides us with the ability for less less invasive procedures to improve outcome and recovery time. This platform uses a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special instruments that advance surgery beyond the limits of human hands. While the surgeon remains fully in control of the entire procedure while operating, the Da Vinci System translates into highly precise microscopic movements through tiny instruments that minimize further the risks associated with the procedure and dramatically improves recovery time and comfort.
Clinical Trial Opportunities
For some gynecologic cancers, such as advanced or recurrent ovarian cancer, a clinical trial assessing a promising new therapy offers the most hope. At John Theurer Cancer Center, you have access to clinical trials of new anticancer drugs, novel immunotherapies (drugs which boost the power of the immune system to find and kill cancer cells), and innovative treatment combinations through studies sponsored by the national Gynecologic Oncology Group and other organizations—including early-phase trials through our dedicated Phase I Clinical Trials program (where new drugs are first assessed in patients). We are committed to providing you with treatment based on the latest medical advances and offer you investigational therapies that could possibly be more effective than existing treatments. Clinical trials are a hallmark of the very best cancer care.
Our Gynecologic Oncology Specialists
Robotic Surgery for Gynecologic Cancers
Today, most gynecologic surgeries can be completed using a minimally invasive approach. Our gynecologic surgeons are experts in the use of laparoscopy to treat many gynecologic cancers. They also frequently use robotic surgery—which affords them enhanced visualization of the surgical field and extraordinary dexterity—and are certified as robotic surgery instructors. For you, minimally invasive surgery means smaller incisions, less pain after surgery, and a quicker return to your normal activities. If you need a more complex procedure, such as debulking surgery for ovarian cancer, our surgeons are equally adept at performing those “open” surgeries as well.
The Latest Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy
If your care includes chemotherapy, we offer the latest anticancer drugs, drug combinations, and targeted therapies based on the most recent findings of medical research. You can receive your treatment in our modern and comfortable infusion centers, which are staffed by specialized and dedicated oncology nurses who monitor your health and comfort during your time with us.
Our radiation therapy center features the most up-to-date technologies. Our doctors have access to intensity-modulated radiation therapy (which aims treatment beams of different intensities from different angles, shaped to the contours of your tumor), tomotherapy (radiation therapy guided by imaging), and brachytherapy—the placement of internal radiation implants near tumor tissue to kill cancer cells—to treat gynecologic cancers. We also have Gamma knife radiosurgery for women whose gynecologic cancers spread to the brain. If radiation therapy is part of your treatment, we’ll customize the plan of care that will work best for you.
For women with gynecologic cancers in their reproductive years who wish to have a baby in the future, we focus on fertility preservation. We can refer you to fertility specialists who can address your needs. Our surgeons can also perform a special procedure called trachelectomy to maintain the integrity of the uterus so you may still be able to carry a pregnancy.
Supporting You During and After Treatment
Some patients with cancer find it helpful to talk with others sharing similar experiences. You are invited to attend a dedicated support group for women with gynecologic and breast cancers.
The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 1:00 pm to 2:00pm in the 4th floor conference room at John Theurer Cancer Center. For more information, contact Anita Vargas, LSW, at 551-996-5861.
Targeting Gynecologic Cancers with Precision Medicine
In the world of cancer care, targeted therapies have become increasingly important, including novel drugs that take aim at specific molecules that affect cancer growth or spread in a given tumor. Many of these new targeted therapies result from the enormous progress made in understanding cancer cell biology (the mechanisms that drive cancer cells). At the same time, progress has also shown that cancer cells are very different from one patient to the other, even if they do look the same under the microscope. Adjusting the treatment based on one’s tumor genetic make-up is called “precision medicine.” At John Theurer Cancer Center, we are taking a precision medicine approach to ovarian cancer treatment, offering women anticancer drugs matched to the molecular abnormalities driving the growth of their cancers.
For example, tumor cells with mutations in the BRCA genes (defective BRCA1 or BRCA2) lack the ability for proper gene repair and have to use alternative ways to repair their DNA. At JTCC,, we use the targeted therapies olaparib and rucaparib to treat women with advanced and recurrent ovarian cancer who have mutations in the BRCA genes. These drugs inhibit a protein called PARP which helps cancer cells repair the damage done by chemotherapy, making them more vulnerable to treatment. Along with the latest PARP inhibitor approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, niraparib, these medications represent a novel approach to treating metastatic ovarian cancer.
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The Department of Imaging and Radiology is comprised of physicians, radiologic health professionals, nurses, administrative coordinators, schedule coordinators and secretaries who work together to provide a comprehensive array of diagnostic and therapeutic imaging services.