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WMCC is southwest Michigan’s unparalleled leader in the treatment of gynecologic cancers. We serve nine counties and are the only gynecologic oncology group in southwest Michigan. Three highly trained gynecologic oncologists lead our outstanding, 11-person team which also includes advanced practice providers, gynecologic oncology nurses, clinical trial nurses, medical assistants, licensed social workers, registered dietitians, and an administrative assistant. If you are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer or a benign condition that requires complex surgery, you can rest assured that our expert oncologists will provide you with state-of-the-art care.
What Is Gynecologic Oncology?
Gynecologic oncology is a specialized field of medicine that focuses on cancers of the female reproductive system. These include ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, and gestational trophoblastic disease. WMCC’s expert team of gynecologic oncologists has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of these cancers.
The WMCC Department of Gynecologic Oncology is located on the 3rd floor of the cancer center. This is where we see patients for consultations and office visits with our providers.
Our gynecologic oncologists perform surgeries at Kalamazoo’s two partner hospitals—Ascension Borgess and Bronson. Chemotherapy infusions are prescribed by our providers and given in the infusion rooms at Ascension Borgess Cancer Center (currently housed at WMCC until September 2021) and Bronson Cancer Center in Kalamazoo.
We see patients with cancer long-term for surveillance visits and are involved in treating their cancer recurrences if needed. Patients with benign conditions see us for postoperative care and then are referred back to their primary care team.
Meet Our Team
Each WMCC gynecologic oncologist is an experienced surgeon with specialized training in daVinci® robotic surgery. This robotic-assisted surgery method allows them to perform complex, minimally invasive surgical procedures with precision and accuracy. Additionally, our physician surgeons provide open and vaginal surgery to patients with other gynecologic malignancies.
Our gynecologic oncologists prescribe chemotherapy for patients with gynecologic cancers that require systemic therapy. We coordinate patient infusions with our hospital partners, and infusions are delivered at the Ascension Borgess Cancer Center (currently housed at WMCC until September 2021) and Bronson Cancer Center’s infusion rooms.
WMCC gynecologic oncologists coordinate radiation services with WMCC radiation oncologists for patients with gynecologic malignancies requiring this treatment method.
Additionally, WMCC’s gynecologic oncology program is part of a teaching curriculum for obstetrics and gynecology residents and students at Western Michigan University’s Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. We perform clinical research and provide patients with clinical trials for treatment. We use state-of-the-art technology and treatment recommendations to give our cancer patients the best possible experience and outcomes.
If you have been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, you can count on our compassionate, skilled team to be there for you and your loved ones and to fight with you. Our goal is to use the most innovative treatment and technology tools available to treat your cancer and support you in your survivorship.
Gynecologic Oncology Team Members
If you have cancer and need surgery to help treat it, you may be feeling anxious or even overwhelmed. We understand and want you to know that Dr. Hoekstra and her team will be with you every step of the way. They will help prepare you and your loved ones for your upcoming surgery and make sure you have all the resources you need during your recovery.
If your cancer requires additional treatments like radiation or chemotherapy, our gynecologic oncology providers and nursing staff will connect you with all the necessary providers, both at WMCC and through our hospital partners Ascension Borgess and Bronson.
Our gynecologic oncology nurses and medical assistants will work together with your gynecologic oncologist and advanced practice provider to prepare you for your surgery and recovery. Your gynecologic oncology nurse will help you manage the side effects of treatment and provide information and resources to help you best manage them. He or she will monitor you throughout your treatment course and help you and your family cope with changes you may experience.
You may see other members of our healthcare team during your pre and post-surgery visits. Their focus is to ensure that your physical and psychological needs are met during your time with us.
- Social Workers
- Registered Dietitians
- Genetic Counselors
- Clinical Trial Nurses
Social Workers are available to provide a variety of supportive services to you and your family. They can provide brief counseling to help you and your family cope with your diagnosis of cancer and with your treatment. They can also help connect you with supportive resources during and after your treatment course.
Registered Dietitians work with patients to help them maintain adequate nutrition during their treatment course. They can help modify your meal plan if side effects from treatment impact appetite, cause nausea, or otherwise alter how you take in nutrition. They can also help determine what you can eat and provide recipes, menu suggestions, and information on ready-to-use nutritional supplements.
Genetic Counselors at Ascension Borgess and Bronson hospitals work closely with our team. If requested, we make referrals to them and ensure that any genetic information previously gathered and relevant to the patient’s care will be obtained.
Clinical Trial Nurses assess the availability of various studies (phase 2 and 3 clinical trials and prevention trials) that may be appropriate for the patient. They also participate in multi-disciplinary conferences, enroll patients on-site for clinical trials, and follow-up with them to manage side effects from trial draws.
What We Treat
Our gynecologic oncologists care for patients with benign and malignant tumors by providing surgery for:
Your First Visit
What To Expect
The first step is to meet with a WMCC gynecologic oncologist to discuss your diagnosis and determine an appropriate treatment plan. This plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or some combination of these treatments. If you and your doctor decide to move forward, you may meet with other team members during the first consultation to further plan your care. If needed, additional testing is ordered, and follow-up visits are scheduled. This visit may take up to several hours.
- Treatment Plan
- Symptom Management
- Post Operative Surgery
Multidisciplinary GYN Conference
We bring together a highly specialized team for patients with gynecologic cancers to rapidly evaluate each case and develop a consensus treatment plan. This is called a multidisciplinary conference. The purpose is to provide a comprehensive and timely treatment recommendation. This comprehensive conference includes gynecologic oncologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, advanced practice providers, a genetic counselor, clinical trials nurses, social workers, dietitians, and a clinic coordinator.
Available Clinical Trials
West Michigan Cancer Center Radiation & Surgical Specialties has an active clinical research program. WMCC is a member of the Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, a division of the National Cancer Institute’s Clinical Oncology Research Program. Your gynecologic oncologist can provide guidance and connect you with one of our research protocol nurses to discuss clinical trials that may help address your specific type of cancer.