The Next Level of Ovarian Cancer Care
At the University of Alabama, Birmingham (UAB), women with ovarian cancer now have access to “wrap-around” services. The service goal is to “make their lives easier.”
It’s a bundled approach that not only offers oncology treatment but also addresses the women’s “wellness needs.”
Each patient in the program is given her own care coordinator to help guide her through the system and to acquaint her with the specialized services the program offers.
It’s noteworthy that the program not only accepts women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, but also those who are in remission, or even at risk for the disease.
Wrap-around services can be assessed by women with ovarian cancer. It makes life easier. This service offers treatment for oncology and addresses the wellness needs of women. To help guide the women through her system every women is given her own care coordinator. They also acquaint the patient with the various services that is offered by the program. Along with women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, also women at the risk or in remission are also accepted in the program.
In order to support the women’s post treatment return to normal life, personalized services are delivered during the treatment. Thus functioning as a safety net. In the early stages ovarian cancer is not diagnosed since its symptoms are vague. During a routine pelvic exam the mass is initially found. If the person has a family history of ovarian cancer then the risk of women developing it is very high. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are the mutated genes. Also for other types of cancer these genes increase the risk. To check for gene mutation, genetic testing is encouraged. The treatment options are more if ovarian cancer is diagnosed early. In determining the most effective interventions, staging of cancer progression also plays a large part.
Generally the treatment includes radiation, chemo, surgery, hormone therapy and targeted therapy. On the body the treatment is very hard. Some treatment options have side effects too.
A registered dietician is included in the UAB team in order to help patient with the digestive issues. The dietician works with the patient and plans the protein and caloric needs. The main goal is that during treatment there should be no malnutrition. Licensed counsellors, relaxation therapy, pastoral care, pet therapy and guided imagery services are provided by the UAB team. They address issues such as social isolation, emotional drain that occurs during the treatment. A person’s reproductive processes may be affected by chemotherapy drugs. Hence a fertility preservation program is also offered.
- IVF and embryo freezing- it is the most established and successful type of fertility program. It delays the cancer treatment and it requires, expense, sperm availability and time.
- Ovarian cryopreservation- in this treatment, the ovarian tissue is retrieved. This is then frozen and then stored. For those who cannot undergo hormonal treatment and cannot undergo IVF cycle can go for this investigational option.
- Cryopreservation of unfertilized oocytes- this technique does not need sperm but instead needs ovarian stimulation. With the hope of later success with IVF, the unfertilized eggs are retrieved and frozen.
A non profit organization Fertile Hope provides reproductive information provides cancer survivors hope and support. The UAB team is participating in this organization.
For tissue banking the first such institution is UAB. It is joined with the oncology consortium. To answer the fundamental research, consortium team is preparing itself. They are preparing for questions based on novel way to preserve and develop eggs after freezing and success rate with fertility preservation.
To include financial counselling, hospital and medical assistance, the UAB includes many support groups. In order to mentor and podcast online information, the services are supported by the caregiver. In the United States one of the largest academic medical centre is the UAB health system. This program surely for the other cancer care programs to emaculate, is a very compassionate benchmark.