Hope for Women with Gynecologic Cancers
Women with ovarian and other gynecologic cancers may not recognize the symptoms until the cancer advances, according to B. Hannah Ortiz, MD, a gynecologic oncologist and Director of Mather’s Department of Gynecology.
“Many patients can wait almost a year of not feeling quite right before they are diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” said Ortiz. Board certified in Gynecologic Oncology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ortiz brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to Mather Hospital. After training at Harvard and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Ortiz focused solely on gynecologic malignancies at a Florida cancer center. According to a study from the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, patients who are treated by surgeons with expertise operating on ovarian cancer have an improved survival rate.
Surgery to remove ovarian cancer can be complex because it often spreads to other areas. Surgery may require the removal of fallopian tubes, uterus, lining of the abdomen and the omental fat pad located in front of the abdomen. This is referred to as “debulking,” which removes the visible cancer, and can lead to long-term survival.
“Ovarian cancer can be a treatable and survivable disease and patients need to be aware that the specialty of gynecologic oncology exists right here, in their backyard,” said Ortiz. “With the right attention to detail, collaboration with Intensivists, like the amazing group we have at Mather, we can treat these women’s cancers close to home.”
Ortiz, who is the solo practitioner of Sound Gynecologic Oncology, PLLC of East Setauket and Mattituck, credits Mather with having the sophisticated equipment, staffing and anesthesiologists that enables her and other physicians to deliver a more comprehensive, complex level of care.
Other gynecologic cancers, such as uterine cancer, can result in less invasive surgery. Some patients with uterine cancer are great candidates for hysterectomies performed with the aid of the da Vinci robotic surgical system at Mather Hospital. Ortiz considers the surgical system “an excellent tool that helps us do high level procedures through very small incisions.” Following robotically assisted procedures, patients generally experience a quicker recovery and fewer complications than with traditional open surgery.