Cervical & Ovarian Cancer

Gynecologic cancers are cancers of the female reproductive tract. They include cancers of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva.

At the Indiana University Health Melvin & Bren Simon Cancer Center, you have access to the most advanced diagnostic options available. These include:

  • Clinical examination to check for lumps or other changes.
  • Blood testing to measure the amounts of certain substances that may indicate the presence of cancer.
  • Colposcopy to examine the vagina and cervix using a lighted magnifying instrument.
  • Laparoscopy to inspect the inside of the abdomen and remove tissue samples with the assistance of a thin, lighted camera.
  • Biopsy and special pathologic studies to remove cells or tissues for examination under a microscope.
  • Various imaging procedures to take internal pictures of the body to look for cancer.

The multidisciplinary team at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center has immediate access to a full range of diagnostic technology. This team of specialists works together daily and can confer, diagnose and develop a treatment plan, sometimes in a single visit.

Gynecologic Cancers Treatment

Specialization at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center enables our doctors to accurately diagnose and effectively treat gynecologic symptoms. Our multidisciplinary team includes:

  • Gynecologic oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Pathologists

The IU Health Simon Cancer Center offers the latest innovations used in the treatment of gynecological cancers. These treatment options include:

  • Surgery removes the cancer and, when necessary, surrounding healthy tissue and lymph nodes.
  • Leading-edge chemotherapy destroys cancer cells with drugs.
  • Leading-edge radiotherapy destroys cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Chemoradiotherapy combines chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
  • Hormonal therapy slows or stops tumor growth.

Continuity of care is a hallmark of treatment at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Often, the same physician will perform surgery and direct chemotherapy. The doctors you see at the beginning follow you through treatment, so you have fully-coordinated care from diagnosis through long-term follow up. Team members also meet weekly to discuss your care, and can alter or continue treatment based on the most recent information and imaging.

Supportive care is also available through the CompleteLife Program, where staff compassionately support and educate you by tending to emotional, social and spiritual needs.

Gynecologic Cancers Research

Many of our doctors are engaged in clinical research to improve diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers. Areas of diagnostic research include:

  • Finding better biopsy techniques
  • Searching for techniques to diagnose ovarian cancer at an earlier stage

Treatment research is a particularly rich field at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, with areas of research including:

  • Work with a national oncology group to develop new drugs for chemotherapy
  • Large, national trials of new chemotherapy agents supplied by manufacturers
  • Laboratory research that leads quickly to clinical trials
  • Bringing new drugs from international trials to patients here in Indiana
  • Developing and applying the newest forms of radiologic treatment
  • Quality of life

Many diagnostic advances are available only at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center, where they are tested for general clinical use. Some originate here, so they are available to our patients many years before being adopted nationally and globally.

More information about cancer research can be found on the Indiana University School of Medicine website

Clinical trials allow patients access to the newest treatments available, often years before they are available elsewhere.