Gynecologic Oncologists Improve Patient Survival Rates

Endometrial cancer patients have improved survival when treated by gynecologic oncologists

FRIDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with high-risk endometrial cancer, who are under the care of gynecologic oncologists, have improved survival rates, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

John K. Chan, M.D., from the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data on 18,338 women, obtained from Medicare and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results databases from 1988 to 2005. Their goal was to determine how influential gynecologic oncologists were in the treatment and survival of patients with endometrial cancer.

The researchers found that 21.4 percent of the women received care from gynecologic oncologists (group A); whereas, 78.6 percent were treated by other physicians (group B). Group A patients were older, had more lymph nodes removed, presented with more advanced-stage cancers (stages III to IV), had higher-grade tumors, and were more likely to be treated with chemotherapy. The five-year disease-specific survival (DSS) of group A was higher than group B in women with stages II to IV disease (79 versus 73 percent) and in women with advanced-stage (III to IV) disease (72 versus 64 percent). However, treatment by a gynecologic oncologist was not associated with a DSS advantage among patients with stage I cancers.

"Directed care by gynecologic oncologists was associated with more extensive lymph node resection and subsequent adjuvant therapy. Most importantly, care provided by gynecologic oncologists improved the survival of those with high-risk (stages II to IV, grade 2 and 3, and high-risk histologies) disease," the authors write.

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