Integrated Care for patients with Gynecological Cancers at SQCCCRC
On occasion of the Gynecological Cancer Awareness month, the Gynecological Cancer Program team at the Sultan Qaboos Comprehensive Cancer Care and Research Center (SQCCCRC) organized an online webinar, titled “Integrated care of gynecological Cancers”.
Gynecological Cancer Awareness month is observed throughout the world in the month of September, with the aim to raise awareness about the common, but often neglected cancers. Gynecological cancers accounts for the 5th most common form of cancer.
Although the cancers are common worldwide, the mortality is disproportionately higher in the low and middle-income countries. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness amongst the general practitioners, gynecologists and medical students, about the common gynecological cancers, methods of prevention, diagnosis, and management in Oman.
More than 80 participants attended the online webinar. Dr Ikram Burney, Senior Consultant of Medical Oncology at SQCCCRC moderated the session, welcomed the guests, and introduced the speakers. Clinical Nurse Specialist, Ms Hajar Al Zahaibi shared the statistics of Cancer of the uterine cervix worldwide and in Oman, and explained how Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) produces a state of inflammation, which in some individuals can lead to cancer of the cervix.
Dr Sarya Bella, Senior Specialist Gynecological Oncology at SQCCCRC described screening tests used for early detection of the cancer or its precursors. She explained the indication and procedure of colposcopy, and the use of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer.
She concluded by sharing the World Health Organization’s guidelines, targeting prevention, screening and treatment strategies and goals for eradicating the disease.
Dr Ana Paula Galerani-Lopes Consultant- Radiation Oncology, described the risk factors and ‘Red-flag’ symptoms of the three major types of gynecological Cancers; Cervical, Uterine and the Ovarian Cancers. She stressed on the need of accurate history, detailed physical examination and early referral, especially if a woman presents with abnormal bleeding, abnormal vaginal discharge, persistent pain in the lower abdomen, and unexplained weight loss. She highlighted the importance of knowing the family history of cancer.
D Aref Zribi, Senior Specialist Medical Oncology discussed the approach in case a newly diagnosed or suspected to have a gynecological cancer presents to a gynecologist or referred to the center. He highlighted the importance of multi-disciplinary team (MDT), and discussion of each case in the MDT meeting. He explained the importance of correct histological diagnosis, clinical staging, assessment of patient’s overall physical and clinical condition, and molecular tests to accurately define the patient’s treatment pathway.
Dr Khadra Galaal, Senior Consultant Gynecological Oncology discussed the option of fertility-sparing surgery in patients diagnosed to have gynecological cancers. A significant number of patients are diagnosed to have the cancers at age less than 40 years, and may wish to preserve fertility. In such cases, it is very important to select the patients carefully for this type of surgery. She explained the procedures that can be adopted in treatment of patients with cancers of the ovary and the cervix.
Dr Aya Mohshtory, Senior psychiatry Specialist described the importance of survivorship, the components of survivorship care, the effect on quality of life the cancers and treatment bring, the coping strategies people adopt, and finally, the ‘bio-psycho-social’ model of care offered to cancer survivors at the SQCCCRC.
Brief descriptions by the speakers was followed by a question and an answer session. Overall, the webinar’s duration was 1.5 hours. The registered participants were able to get an attendance certificate and would be able to apply for one Category 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) point from Oman Medical Specialty Board (OMSB). Dr ikram thanked the participants, the speakers and invited the participants to suggest topics for future CME webinars.