Medical Patient Modesty - a non-profit organization to improve patient modesty in medical settings


Referral To a Gynecologic Oncologist

Many women are not really aware with what a gynecologic oncologist is unless they or their family members have been referred to a gynecologic oncologist because it is suspected that they could have gynecologic cancers such as an undetermined ovarian mass that looks suspicious.

A gynecologic oncologist is an obstetrician/gynecologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers of the female reproductive system, including cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancers. To become a gynecologic oncologist, a physician must complete four years of medical school followed by a four-year residency program in obstetrics and gynecology, and an additional three- to four-year clinical fellowship in gynecologic oncology. This specialized training includes mastering highly technical surgical procedures, administering chemotherapy, and learning the techniques of radiation therapy.

Women with gynecologic cancers have much better outcomes with a gynecologic oncologist so it is important for them to be treated by a gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic cancers are complex and treatment often involves multiple modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A gynecologic oncologist is specially trained to diagnose and treat these types of cancers, as well as premalignant conditions that lead to gynecologic cancer. They see women with gynecologic cancers every day, and have developed the skills and judgment required to perform procedures on the reproductive system.

Many women care about their modesty and prefer female gynecologists. Many female gynecologists will refer their patients to a male gynecologic oncologist and it may take modest female patients off guard because they are so worried about having cancer. Women with possible cancers especially ovarian cancer are often vulnerable because they are so worried they could have cancer and they put modesty aside for at least a while until they really think about it. Women should not sacrifice their modesty even for cancer or possible cancer.

Some major cities in the United States do not have a female gynecologic oncologist. For example, as of October 2018 there are only two female gynecologic oncologists in the entire state of South Carolina in Charleston. Most small towns do not have a gynecologic oncologist so women often have to drive to the closest big city to see a gynecologic oncologist. One of the largest cities in America only has two female gynecologic oncologists and many male gynecologic oncologists as of October 2018. This poses a serious problem for modest women who want an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist as soon as possible. It’s often easier and quicker to schedule an appointment with a male gynecologic oncologist if there are two or three male gynecologic oncologists and only one female gynecologic oncologist at an oncology clinic. Sometimes, a female gynecologic oncologist could have a waiting list.

If your gynecologist refers you to a male gynecologic oncologist, firmly tell her no and that you will not accept a male gynecologic oncologist. She may make some arguments about you using a male gynecologic oncologist because: 1.) He is the best in the area. 2.) He has a lot of experience and has a lot of great reviews from patients she referred to him. Those arguments do not change the fact that he is male. You must be willing to travel farther to see a female gynecologic oncologist who can take you as a patient, perhaps spending the night away from home. There are many wonderful female gynecologic oncologists out there.

We encourage all women who have to see a gynecologic oncologist to take the following steps:

1.) Always make sure that you will have a female doctor or mid-level provider before you change into your gown even if your appointment was made with a female provider. A male doctor could fill in for a female doctor at last minute without your knowledge.

2.) Some female doctors allow male medical students to observe procedures so you need to have it in writing that you do not give consent to medical students being part of your appointments.

3.) If it is recommended that you have a hysterectomy or a gynecological surgery, you should do research to make sure it is absolutely necessary. Also, you may want to consider getting a second opinion from another female gynecologic oncologist about your condition before you move forward with surgery. The second opinion must be from a gynecological oncologist in a different practice.

4.) If you require surgery, take time to read the article, Concerns About Modesty During Hysterectomy to find out what steps you will need to make sure your wishes for modesty during surgery are honored. You discuss your concerns about modesty with your gynecologic oncologist and share this wonderful testimonial of a female gynecologist in Minnesota who accommodated a patient’s wishes for modesty for a hysterectomy.


What is a gynecologic oncologist?

Concerns About Modesty During Hysterectomy

Recommended Articles to Read:

Breast Cancer Prevention in a Pill

DIM For Cancer Treatment And Prevention

Ovarian cancer fears prompt unnecessary surgeries, study finds

Ovarian cyst or ovarian cancer? An oncologist helps to demystify

Knowledge is key when it comes to ovarian cancer

Is a 'quick diagnosis' test on an ovarian mass during surgery accurate?

Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment

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