Gynecologic oncologist: Specialization let me achieve my professional dream

As a gynecologic oncologist, I see women with every type of cancer related to the female reproductive system, except breast cancer. I treat women with ovarian, uterine, cervical, and vulvar cancers. And I routinely perform surgery, prescribe chemotherapy and suggest clinical trials. I decided to specialize in gynecologic oncology after figuring out what was really important to me in medical school. I realized one day that I didn’t just want to operate on my patients. I wanted to take care of them long-term. Being a gynecologic oncologist allows me to do that: I see women from the time they’re diagnosed though their whole cycle of cancer care. And that is really satisfying. What goes into every diagnosis Part of each new patient’s evaluation process is obtaining the imaging, pathology slides and reports from any previous treatment, so that our pathologists and radiologists can review them. Because about 20% of the time, the diagnosis we render is slightly different from the one patients got originally. And that difference can change our treatment recommendations. That’s why a lot of people come to MD Anderson: for a fresh set of eyes. But my patients aren’t just getting my personal opinion. We have 23 full-time gynecologic oncologists on staff. And I rely on my colleagues and their expertise to help me provide each patient with the best possible options to choose from. Every time I make a recommendation, I consider the current standard of care, as well as any clinical trials available. Those could deal with new therapies or new combinations of existing therapies. Sometimes, there’s even a novel treatment that’s only available...