Gynaecological cancer treatment in NSW
There are seven specialist gynaecological oncology centres in NSW. Women with a gynaecological cancer should be assessed and treated at one of these centres:
- Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
- Hunter New England Centre for Gynaecological Cancer (collaboration between John Hunter Hospital and The Calvary Mater Hospital Newcastle)
- Liverpool Hospital
- Royal Hospital for Women
- Royal North Shore Hospital
- St George Hospital
- Westmead Hospital.
More information can be found about identified patient flows for ovarian cancer surgery from 2011-2015. If your Local Health District does not have a formal referral pathway consider asking your GP to refer you to one of the seven specialist gynaecological centres.
Gynaecological cancers include:
- ovarian cancer
- uterine cancer
- cervical cancer
- vaginal cancer
- vulval cancer.
People living with cancer, their families and friends can find more information about gynaecological cancer and gynaecological oncologists in NSW listed on our CanRefer site .
Doctors whose patients are suspected of, or diagnosed with, a gynaecological cancer should refer them to a gynaecological oncologist that works at a specialised gynaecological oncology centre and is an active member of a gynaecological multidisciplinary team.
The Cancer Institute NSW is working with Local Health Districts, the Agency for Clinical Innovation (Gynaecological Oncology Network) and NSW Ministry of Health, to improve outcomes for women with a gynaecological cancer.
This includes developing criteria to identify a specialised gynaecological oncology centre in NSW.
Specialised gynaecological oncology centres in NSW
There are two primary criteria a hospital needs to meet to be identified as a specialised gynaecological oncology centre in NSW. Centres must have a:
- Certified gynaecological oncologist (through the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists).
- Gynaecological multidisciplinary team that meets at a minimum fortnightly. Core members of the multidisciplinary team are:
- Gynaecological oncology nuclear medicine specialist.
- Gynaecological oncology radiologist
- Gynaecological oncology pathologist
- Gynaecological oncology clinical nurse
- Gynaecological oncology radiation oncologist
- Gynaecological oncology medical oncologist
- Gynaecological oncologist.
A Cochrane review completed in 20121 focused on identifying if improved clinical outcomes were associated with care in a centralised specialised gynaecological oncology centre. The findings of this review found that women with gynaecological cancers who received treatment in specialised gynaecological cancer centres had longer survival rates than women treated elsewhere1. Higher volume is one aspect of centralised care in specialised centres that may result in better patient outcomes.
Evidence demonstrates there are a number of characteristics of high quality care for the treatment of ovarian cancer. These include sufficient hospital volume, presence of gynaecological oncologists, medical and radiation oncology departments, delivery of guidance-adherent care, participation in research and clinical trials and strong multidisciplinary team processes with care overseen by the multidisciplinary team1-6.
1. Woo, Y.L., et al., Centralisation of services for gynaecological cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2012. 3: p. Cd007945.
2. Bristow, R.E., et al., Adherence to treatment guidelines for ovarian cancer as a measure of quality care. Obstet Gynecol, 2013. 121(6): p. 1226-34.
3. Cliby, W.A., et al., Ovarian cancer in the United States: contemporary patterns of care associated with improved survival. Gynecol Oncol, 2015. 136(1): p. 11-7.
4. Mercado, C., et al., Quality of care in advanced ovarian cancer: the importance of provider specialty. Gynecol Oncol, 2010. 117(1): p. 18-22.
5. du Bois, A., et al., Variations in institutional infrastructure, physician specialization and experience, and outcome in ovarian cancer: a systematic review. Gynecol Oncol, 2009. 112(2): p. 422-36.
6. Fung-Kee-Fung M, et al., Organisational guideline for gynaecological services in Ontario, in Program in Evidence-based Care. 2013, Cancer Care Ontario: Toronto, Ontario.