Improves screening techniques for gynaecological cancers
For example: There are two major types of cervical cancer; those arising from glandular conditions and those that are squamous. Squamous-based cancers are detected through pap smears. Now to provide better screening for cervical cancer, women with an abnormal pap smear can be referred to a specialized colposcopy program with the goal of a fully functional city-wide program by 2010. The research goals of the new colposcopy program include identifying specific characteristics of pre-cancerous lesions so that they can be treated before cancer develops.
We are also working to better understand the genetic basis for the development of ovarian and endometrium cancers. We have created a multi-disciplinary team with the goal of creating uniform standards of care, which will provide the consistency necessary to do comparative research as to which screening technique is most effective.
Develops new treatment modalities
For example: We are researching the merits of various types of treatment options for ovarian cancer. We are also participating in multi-centred national trials. Soon we will be testing a new way of administering chemotherapy for ovarian cancer called intra-peritoneal chemo. It allows the chemotherapy to be brought closer to the tumour by instilling the chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity.
We have also launched a new ovarian cancer multi-disciplinary research program to reduce the time that it takes for discoveries made by basic scientists to be actually used to treat patients.
Pioneers the use of new minimally invasive technologies in screening and treatment of gynaecological cancers
For example: We were the first centre in Canada to do a radical hysterectomy by robot for cancer of the cervix. The advantages of this approach are shorter hospital stay, less blood loss, better assessment of the extent of the cancer and shorter learning curve for physicians to learn minimally invasive surgery as it applies to cancer surgery.
Improves end-of-life care
For example: We have a physician specialized in palliative care and an relationship with the School of Nursing at Western and are researching the best methods to improve the quality of care for those dying from gynaecological cancers. We are focusing on such issues as how to best manage pain and how to deal with bowel obstruction, for those with ovarian cancer, that is not amenable to surgery.
Provides opportunities for continuing medical education for practising physicians
For example: We have held knowledge-building workshops in several communities so that physicians in Southwestern Ontario can maintain state-of-the-art knowledge of developments in gynaecologic oncology.
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