Gynecologic Cancer Second Opinion: Do I need one?

If you are already under the care of a board certified or fellowship trained board eligible gynecologic oncologist then whether or not you should get a second opinion depends upon your level of trust and personal interaction with your oncologist. Gynecologic oncologists receive 3-4 years of training after ObGyn residency, gaining extra surgical skills which put them into an elite category of highly skilled cancer surgeons. Almost all universities and academic centers, including NCI designated cancer centers, have gynecologic oncologists on staff. The main site which lists most of the board certified or eligible gynecologic oncologists in the US is the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists:
Universities and academic centers are definitely NOT the only place to find qualified gyn oncologists. Finally, some private practices are involved in clinicial research, while many are not.
Source: Steven Vasilev MD

Psychiatric Aspects of Gynecologic Cancers

Large epidemiologic studies found that depression was associated with double the risk of death from cancer up to 17 years post diag­nosis. However, other prospec­tive large cohort studies found no depressive symptom effects on cancer risk. In breast cancer as a protypical example, 50% of the patients experienced serious degrees of anxiety, depression and other psychiatric symptoms/illnesses during the course of their illness. Studies have also shown that any given patients psychiat­ric/psychological response to a diagnosis and course of cancer is influenced by many factors. Cancer may itself cause many symptoms associated with depression- for instance fatigue, weight loss, poor appetite, low energy, sleep disturbance and other vegetative signs of depression. The most serious psychiatric issue associated with gyn and other cancers is suicide. In conclusion, gyn cancers present with a range of physical and psychological symptoms throughout the various stages of the disease, i.e., initial diagnosis, treatment, survival or recurrence. When possible, psychiatric treatment should be where they receive their oncology services. Pain, other physical discomforts, severe mood or anxiety symp­toms should be treated phar­macologically. Survivors experience chronic fear of recurrence, sexual dysfunction and identity disrup­tion. A. The course of treatment for gyn cancer can be very demanding physically and mentally. Treatment(s) are available but should be with knowledgeable mental health professionals with oncology experience. The outcomes for gyn cancers is much improved when psychi­atric issues are addressed simul­taneously.
Source: Charles Meusburger

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