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David Scott Miller, M.D. Answers Questions On Gynecologic Cancers

David Scott Miller, M.D. Answers Questions On: Gynecologic Cancers

What is one of the most important things women need to know about gynecologic cancers?

All cancer care is not equal, particularly with gynecologic cancers. Whom you see to evaluate and treat the cancer is the most significant decision you can make to manage the disease. A number of patients do not receive the right tests to evaluate their cancer because of where they receive care. Of course, this decision affects a patient’s chances for survival.

You built the gynecologic cancer division at UT Southwestern. Why is that important?

At UT Southwestern, the gynecologic cancer division was built on the premise that we needed to take a collaborative approach to fight the complexity of these types of cancer. Battling a gynecologic cancer is difficult under any circumstances.

I wanted to make sure that we assembled the best team of doctors and other health care professionals to provide all the medical and surgical care women need, as well as supportive care such as nutritional and psychological counseling.

Is it difficult to see a gynecologic oncology specialist at UT Southwestern?

No. We can see patients within 48 hours of the time they call or are referred by another physician. We will collect any medical records and slides a patient might have. Our goal is to be extremely prepared before the first meeting with the patient to provide a solid evaluation of the cancer.   

Do you offer special services for people with a strong family history of cancer?

Yes. UT Southwestern offers a Cancer Genetics Program that is recognized as one of the best in the United States. For patients diagnosed with gynecologic cancers, cancer genetics is extremely significant.

When we have a patient with a certain type of cancer, our team pinpoints her genetic risk. For instance, about 5 to 10 percent of ovarian cancers have recognizable inherited genes. So, if the cancer results from an inherited gene mutation – such as BRCA – we can counsel the patient on other types of cancer that might develop. Our team can also provide information to share with her family because they will also be at risk for certain types of cancer.

What distinguishes your team of physicians from others who treat gynecologic cancer?

First of all, we’re more than a gynecologic cancer practice. We’re an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and a university health and hospital system. Here, women with cancer have access to leading-edge research and the latest treatment protocols and technology, as well as every specialty of medical care available.

But beyond that, our team’s focus is on the individual. We aren’t just treating a disease called cancer. We’re treating a woman with a name, a family, hopes, and dreams – dreams that have just been shattered by hearing that she might have cancer. She’s scared. She’s worried about herself and her family. If she has a daughter, she’s frightened that her daughter might be predisposed to develop cancer.

We’re here to help her through this difficult time in her life. We believe that working together as a team, we can make a difference in a woman’s life and in the treatment of gynecologic cancer.