Northside leads the way in groundbreaking treatments for GYN cancer. GYN cancer patients benefit from Northside's expertise and state-of-the-art technology for the shortest, most optimal recovery available.
Cancer treatments will depend on the stage of the cancer, the size and shape of the tumor, the age and general health of the woman, and her desire to have children in the future.
Dedicated Inpatient Unit
Four dedicated, women-only surgery suites for breast and gynecologic surgery feature the most advanced technology, facilities and staff. Our inpatient cancer unit also is designed specifically for women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. Nurses and staff are specially trained in gynecologic cancer, chemotherapy and symptom management to provide resources, care and overall support. Multiple minimally invasive laparoscopic and traditional surgical procedures are available to treat a wide array of GYN conditions.
In 2006, Northside introduced robotic hysterectomy for oncology patients using the da Vinci Robotic System. With the skill of our surgeons and surgical team Northside ranks in the top 5% in the world for GYN robotic procedures. Combining laparoscopic with robotic technology, this system allows our surgeons to perform more precise less invasive procedures. As a result, our patients experience reduced post-operative pain and shorter recovery times. Learn more about our robotic surgery services.
Hysterectomy is the second most common surgery after cesarean section. It can cure a variety of problems to which the uterus is prone. Most often hysterectomy is recommended for serious cases of uterine fibroids, benign tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. It also is used to cure severe cases of endometriosis, heavy non-menstrual bleeding, uterine or cervical cancer, and severe prolapse. In addition to traditional laparoscopic hysterectomy, surgeons at Northside perform hysterectomy robotically and via single-incision. Northside was the first hospital in Georgia to perform a radical hysterectomy using robotic technology.
Northside was the first hospital in Atlanta to offer Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion, or HIPEC, to treat ovarian cancer, and has performed more of these procedures for ovarian cancer than any other hospital. Performed during surgery, HIPEC delivers heated chemotherapy into the abdominal cavity, which allows a much higher dose of chemo to permeate the diseased tissue than could be accomplished conventionally. In 2011, Northside combined HIPEC the da Vinci® robotic surgical system, performing the first-ever reported robotic HIPEC case for ovarian cancer.
Who can be treated with HIPEC?
• Patients who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer for the first time with a biopsy of a mass or with a sample of fluid from the abdomen
• Women with recurring ovarian cancer
• Women whose cancer originated in the peritoneum
• Women with pseudomyxoma peritonei, a mucus-producing cancer of the appendix
As part of our commitment to providing the latest treatment available, we participate in clinical trials, including an international trial for radioimmunotherapy, an innovative treatment for ovarian cancer. Northside collaborates with some of the nation’s leading research organizations including the National Cancer Institute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Georgia Clinical Research & Education (GA CORE) and others. We also have increased clinical trials available to patients through membership in Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), an NCI-research consortium, through GA CORE. Learn more about Clinical Trials at Northside.
Chemotherapy is a form of treatment used to stop cancer cells from growing.
At Northside's Infusion Centers, chemotherapy is dispensed on an outpatient basis by registered nurses who are certified in chemotherapy administration. These nurses also provide ongoing physical assessments.
Radiation kills cancer cells by delivering beams of irradiation. Radiation may be used before the surgery to shrink a tumor or after surgery to kill remaining cancerous cells. Learn more about radiation oncology at Northside.
In GYN cancers, External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT) can be used to destroy cancer cells. It can focus a beam of radiation through a machine called a linear accelerator (linac). This beam of radiation is called photon energy. The energy produced by the linac can be directed to any shape or angle of the tumor. It is a very precise method of delivering the high energy to the cancer cells. The goal is to treat the cancer but minimize the radiation exposure to the surrounding tissues.
EBRT is given on a daily basis for approximately five to six weeks. The patient ends up being in the department approximately 15 minutes per day. Once the external beam radiation has been completed the patient often receives 3 to 6 internal radiation treatments.
High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy is a type of internal radiation therapy. It is able to deliver a very high dose to a precise location inside the body. A catheter or cylinder is used to place the radiation as close as possible to the tumor. A wire with a small source of radiation is then fed into the catheter. The radiation is released from the source. This source is about the size of a grain of rice. Once the radiation is in place the treatment usually lasts only a few minutes. The source is then removed. Brachytherapy provides a very precise delivery of the radiation in a short time within the body. Brachytherapy is often used in conjunction with other types of radiation. It is usually given in 3 to 6 treatments separated in time.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) is computer software that helps the radiation oncologist to plan the delivery of radiation to a tumor using a 3-D rendition of the tumor. The exact shape of the tumor is determined from a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan. The computer helps the radiation oncologist to giver higher doses than ever before. It is an accurate placement of the radiation and is far superior to conventional radiation therapy.
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) is a method used to follow the position of a tumor. Many organs can move within the body. IGRT allows us to visualize the position of a tumor (or organ) in real-time. By using this method the radiation oncologist is able to adapt the position of the radiation beam at the precise moment the patient is being treated.
When cancer arises in areas of the body such as the breast or prostate tissue, its growth may be caused by hormones. Hormones stimulate the growth of hormone sensitive tissues, and therefore, drugs that block or change the way hormones work, can fight some cancers. Removal of organs that secrete hormones, such as the ovaries or testicles, may also prove as effective treatment for hormone-stimulated cancers.
Targeted therapies are designed to only treat the cancer cells, and therefore, minimize damage to normal, healthy cells. In order to become cancer cells, healthy cells must go through a process called carcinogenesis. Targeted therapy disrupts this process and the cellular changes necessary for development and growth.
Biological therapy, also called immunotherapy, uses the body’s immune system to treat cancer. Unlike chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted therapy that fights cancer cells directly, biological therapy helps the immune system to fight cancer cells.