COLUMBIA, Mo. — Each year, more than 80,000 American women are diagnosed with cancer affecting the reproductive organs. For many of these women, early detection can mean the difference between life and death.
During September, which is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, the gynecologic oncology team at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center wants to make more women aware of the importance of early detection and treatment, for the best chance of a cure.
“It is very important that women visit their doctors for gynecologic exams at least once a year,” said Mark Hunter, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. “The annual exam can detect cancer in its early stages when women have many more treatment options.”
Gynecologic cancers may affect the cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina and vulva. Hunter says many of the cancers can be prevented by exercising, eating a health diet, avoiding smoking and immunization through the HPV vaccine.
Physicians can also assess the genetic risk of gynecologic cancer. Women with a family history of gynecologic cancer are counseled on preventive measures.
“Through prevention, detection, risk assessment and treatment, women are surviving gynecologic cancer and living healthy lives,” said Hunter.
As a gynecologic oncologist, Hunter is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist
who has an additional four years of specialized training in treating gynecologic cancers from Mark Hunter, M.D.
an American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology-approved program.
Hunter’s expertise allows him to follow a gynecologic cancer patient from diagnosis through surgery, recovery, postoperative treatment with chemotherapy and radiation, and after care.
“Cancer patients will benefit from having one doctor see them through surgery and chemotherapy,” said Hunter. “Anytime we can simplify the treatment process, we improve the patient experience and provide a sense of comfort during these difficult times.”
Hunter is a graduate of the University of California-Los Angeles Medical School and completed a residency and fellowship training at the University of California-Irvine. He is trained in operating with the da Vinci surgical robot, the latest advancement in minimally invasive precision robotic surgery at University of Missouri Health Care.
Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, a part of the University of Missouri Health Care system, provides comprehensive cancer care to patients from every county in the state. More than 100 physician specialists and other trained professionals work together to improve and save the lives of cancer patients. Designated Missouri’s official state cancer center in 2004, Ellis Fischel also offers outpatient treatment and cancer screening services.
Mark Hunter, M.D., gynecologic oncologist at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center
|Detecting gynecologic cancer early
|Importance of annual gynecologic exam
|Improving outcomes for gynecologic cancer