What to Know If You’re Newly Diagnosed With a Gynecologic Cancer

woman receiving radiation therapy

Gynecologic cancer is a broad term that covers all women's reproductive cancers, including ovarian cancer, endometrial (uterine cancer), cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. At Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia, we understand that there are a lot of questions that you may have after a gynecologic cancer diagnosis. We hope this guide will help you prepare for your first appointment with the cancer specialist.

What Type of Doctor Treats Gynecologic Cancer?

It’s likely that your gynecologist or primary care physician found and diagnosed your specific type of gynecologic cancer. Meeting with a medical oncologist who specializes in gynecologic cancer will be the next step. An oncologist is a doctor who specializes in treating cancers. As a patient of Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia, you will have access to our gynecologic cancer specialists located in the northeast Georgia area.

Before any cancer treatments begin, the oncologist will sit down with you and go over your specific diagnosis and the types of treatment that are recommended. He or she will also be the lead physician for your care and typically performs the surgery to remove the cancer when the time is right. The medical oncologist also works closely with the radiation oncology team if radiotherapy will be a part of your treatment plan.

Treatment Options Depend on Your Type of Gynecologic Cancer

The specific treatments you'll receive are based on the type of gynecologic cancer you have, the extent of the cancer, where it's located, and your overall health status. Depending on the stage and location of the cancer, other treatments may be recommended either before and/or after surgery, such as:

  • Radiation Therapy

  • Chemotherapy

  • Targeted Therapy

  • Hormone Therapy

  • Immunotherapy

Your oncologist can explain why each type of therapy is recommended and at what point in the treatment process.

Preparing for Your First Radiation Oncology Appointment

You’ll receive a lot of essential information from the radiation oncologist at your initial appointment. It can be very difficult to remember everything. Here are a couple of tips for keeping track of everything that’s important:

Plan for a Practice Run

A lot of times the radiation oncology team will perform a “simulation” of what needs to be done for your radiation treatment during the first appointment. This means you should wear clothes that are comfortable and that you can wear when lying down. You may be asked to get into the position for treatment so it can be marked and recorded. This is important so that you’re in the exact same spot each time radiation treatments are given.

Keep a Notebook

A notebook, binder, or smartphone can help you to stay organized and have a record of all the essential information. Feel free to take notes before your first appointment, during appointments and between appointments.

This is also a good place to jot down any questions you have. Some questions you might want to ask could include:

  • What are my treatment options?

  • How soon do I start my radiation therapy?

  • Are there certain activities I need to avoid during radiation therapy treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect?

Bring a Relative or Friend

We suggest you take a friend or family member with you for your initial appointment. Not only can they offer you emotional support, but they’ll also be there to listen and help you jot down notes on the information you’re receiving.

Should You Get a Second Opinion Before Cancer Treatment?

It’s very important that you’re confident in the diagnosis you receive regarding your gynecologic cancer. Because of this, many patients choose to get a second opinion before they start their treatment plan.

At Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia in the Atlanta area, we provide second opinions and encourage patients to take advantage of them if possible, especially if their cancer includes radiation therapy. Most insurance providers will cover the cost of a second opinion evaluation, however, it’s a good idea to call them directly to verify.

Radiation Therapy for Gynecologic Cancer Conveniently Located in the Atlanta Area

There are many components of cancer treatment — one of which is having a compassionate care team that will help you every step of the way in your gynecologic cancer journey. We hope you will take time to evaluate each of the physicians who will be a part of your care team, and request second opinions to be sure you’re confident in your selections.

You can request an appointment by calling a location near you or filling out our online form.