Gynecologic Oncology

Overview

Advancing the Fight against Gynecologic Cancers

Every year in the United States, nearly 100,000 women are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, and nearly 30,000 women die from the disease.  As with any cancer, the earlier it is detected and treated, the better.  While there are numerous factors that may cause gynecologic cancers, some are genetic causes such as the BRCA genes and some are infections such as the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Types of Gynecological Cancer

Gynecological oncology is a specialty that focuses on cancers of the reproductive system: Ovarian, uterine, cervical, vulvar, and endometrial.

Ovarian Cancer – The American Cancer Society reports that ovarian cancer accounts for about 3% of cancers in women, and causes more deaths than any other gynecological cancer.  Survival rates are high when the disease is diagnosed early, however, approximately only 20% of ovarian cancers are found in the early stages.  The reason for this is two-fold: there is no screening for ovarian cancer, and the symptoms are nonspecific such as abnormal abdominal bloating, pain or pressure, that can be easily ignored and attributed to other health issues.

Women experiencing these symptoms and those who are at higher risk (including women who have had breast cancer or have a family history of breast, ovarian or colorectal cancer), further screenings, including a rectovaginal pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, or a CA-125 blood test may be recommended.

Uterine/Endometrial Cancer – A type of cancer that develops in the uterus, uterine cancer is the most commonly diagnosed gynecological cancer in the United States and one of the most common cancers in women in the U.S. and is most commonly diagnosed in post-menopausal women.  Risk factors include age, obesity, taking estrogen as a hormone replacement and having a family history of ovarian, uterine or colon cancer.  If you are experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding, and/or pain and pressure in the pelvic area, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider.  If discovered early, surgical removal of the uterus often cures this cancer.

Cervical Cancer – The majority of this cancer is due to HPV (Humanpapilloma virus) infection.   .  Unlike other gynecologic cancers, there is a screening test to detect changes in the cervix prior to developing cancer.  Regular screening with a pap test and HPV testing identifies abnormal cells in the cervix that can be treated prior to the development of cervical cancer.  .  An HPV vaccination is available which has shown to decrease the risk of precancer and cancer of the cervix.  .

While in its early stages, cervical cancer typically does not have any symptoms, however in later stages, symptoms may include abnormal vaginal discharge, and bleeding or pain during sex.  If you experience these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider

Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers – These cancers are rare in comparison to other gynecological cancers.  Risk factors include having a history of HPV and history of cervical cancer or pre-cancer.
 

Mountainside Medical Center Offers More Specialized Care, Better Outcomes

At Mountainside Medical Center, Merieme Klobocista, M.D., Director of Gynecological Oncology Services, leads the care of gynecologic cancer patients, providing exceptional specialist care to the residents of New Jersey and beyond. She plays a significant role in coordinating individualized, multidisciplinary treatment options that include:

  • Minimally invasive (robotic) surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
     
A robust clinical trials portfolio: We are committed to providing care based on the latest medical advances. Our partnership with John Theurer Cancer Center gives patients have access to clinical trials of new anticancer agents, novel immunotherapies, and innovative treatment combinations through studies sponsored by the national Gynecologic Oncology Group and other organizations — including early phase trials, through our dedicated Phase I Clinical Trials program. 
 
Care for the whole patient: In addition to providing the most advanced treatments, we address the other needs of our patients and their families that arise during cancer care, including psychosocial support, nutritional guidance, and palliative care…all in one healing environment
 
Treatment approaches and technologies are constantly evolving, providing patients with a growing array of medications, therapies, and tools to diagnose and attack the disease. That is why it is essential to turn to skilled doctors and clinicians devoted to gynecologic malignancies — from diagnosis and treatment to side effect management and survivorship.
 

For clinical questions or to schedule an appointment contact (973) 259-3548.

 

Meet the Team

It takes an integrated team approach to battle aggressive gynecologic malignancies, especially as medical therapies and technologies continue to evolve. Fortunately, world-class, research-based gynecologic cancer care is right at your doorstep. Physicians from John Theurer Cancer Center, New Jersey’s largest and most comprehensive cancer center, are at Mountainside Medical Center.  Here, women of all ages with endometrial, ovarian, cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers as well as germ-cell tumors can receive individualized care from an expert team of compassionate and skilled gynecologic and medical oncologists.

We treat only women’s cancers — every stage, every day. We develop a personalized treatment plan to attack the cancer, depending not just on the cancer type, but also on a patient’s individual needs to provide the best outcome while preserving her quality of life.

Meet our skilled gynecologic oncology team:

 

Merieme Klobocista, M.D.

Director of Gynecologic Oncology Services

Gynecological Oncologist

Dr. Merieme Klobocista is board certified in gynecological oncology, hospice & palliative medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine. Dr. Klobocista then completed a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. She is authored on multiple publications relating to gynecologic oncology conditions.  Her research interests include management in gynecologic malignancies and palliative care and survivorship in gynecologic cancer patients.

A skilled surgeon with advanced robotic capabilities – taking a minimally invasive approach to surgery whenever possible, operating through smaller incisions, and achieving good outcomes with less postoperative pain and a quicker return to your normal activities. Dr. Klobocista is equally experienced in more intensive open surgeries, such as ovarian cancer debulking.

Donna McNamara, M.D.

Co-medical Director; Cancer Program at Mountainside Medical Center

Medical Onoclogist

Dr. McNamara specializes in treating women with gynecological malignancies, particularly ovarian cancer, as well as women with breast cancer. Her special areas of interest include gynecological oncology, cancer risk assessment in families, and palliative care. Dr. McNamara has an established background in research and has been published in national cancer journals, including the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Brett Lewis, M.D.

Radiation Onoclogist

Dr. Lewis leads Mountainside Medical Center’s Radiation Oncology program, which houses the newly installed, state-of-the art linear accelerator, TrueBeam®. With this advanced technology, Dr. Lewis provides high-quality, submillimeter accuracy and On-Board Imaging that allows tumor positioning and tracking during stereotactic treatments. Such superior precision translates into fewer, shorter radiation sessions and reduced risk of any damage to healthy tissue.

Sihana Sela, P.A.

Sihana Sela is a Physician Assistant currently working with Dr. Klobocista and the Gynecologic Oncology team.   She has extensive training in obstetrics, gynecology, and general and colorectal surgery that enables her manage patient’s unique needs.  She assists with patient visits and in surgical procedures, and she serves as an important conduit of communication between patients and physicians.

Martha Campanaro, CMA

A Certified Medical Assistant with over 10 years’ experience. Martha is responsible for the day to day administrative operations including scheduling surgical procedures along with lab and radiology services.  Martha educates and counsels the patients on preoperative and post-operative instructions.  Martha enhances healthcare practice reputation by supporting and assisting in the patient’s needs to create a seamless process during a very stressful time.