Despite effective screenings like the Pap test and vaccines that prevent HPV, gynecological cancers are still a force to be reckoned with. These female cancers claim an estimated 28,000 lives a year.
“When we talk about gynecologic cancers, we’re trying to bring together a group of diseases that occur in women, except for breast cancer. This would include cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer,” says Dr. Constantine Mantz, radiation oncologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
Long-term survivors, who have seen their cancers spread, were the catalysts for a new line of therapy.
“The challenge for them is to try to at least slow down the progression of the cancer,” says Dr. Mantz.
Doctors in Southwest Florida offered women with late stage cancer a new treatment. Located inside the Regional Cancer Center, it’s called Stereotactic Body Radiation. First used in brain cancer, SBRT uses sophisticated guidance that can track subtle tumor movement and deliver high doses of radiation-in a fraction of the time.
“We’re able to cut down the number of visits and at the same time deliver a much more potent and much more effective dose of radiation than we could the conventional way. Conventional course of treatment may be 20/25, 30/35, 40/45 visits. With stereotactic treatment we can compress all that down to a total number of one, two, three, four, five treatments,” says Dr. Mantz.
Results were exceptional this local study followed 36 women up to five years.
“There is a group of patients who are long term survivors of advanced gynecologic cancer who will continue to enjoy a good quality of life for many years,” says Dr. Mantz.
Despite harboring an inhospitable cancer. If treatment proves less toxic with fewer complications than traditional therapy, it may be used in earlier stages.