Stanford Health Care–ValleyCare has opened a Gynecologic Cancer Program in the Tri-Valley Area, serving the East Bay communities of Amador Valley, Livermore Valley and San Ramon Valley. Gynecologic oncologists Valerie Sugiyama, MD, and Trung T. Nguyen, DO, MBA, both clinical assistant professors, use advanced technology to perform minimally invasive procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers affecting a woman's reproductive system. These include ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer, along with cancers that may have started elsewhere and traveled to these organs.
"We practice evidence-based medicine and aim to provide the most up-to-date and innovative cancer care for our patients," said Nguyen. "We make sure that we provide what is best for every patient, coupling improved survival with improved quality of life."
Sugiyama and Nguyen are the first physicians to perform this type of robotic surgery at the Stanford Health Care–ValleyCare site. They will lead an initiative to expand robotic surgery capabilities at this facility into other specialties as well. "We've been able to do extensive cancer staging using this minimally invasive technology," said Sugiyama, adding that patients have been able to go home after a single overnight stay and have had excellent outcomes and pain control. "We are excited to continue to build our robotic surgery program with more specialties. And patients will benefit from being able to have minimally invasive, robotic surgery right here in the community."
By joining the Stanford faculty, Sugiyama and Nguyen are now part of a larger team of gynecologic oncologists at Stanford. As such, their patients have the opportunity to participate in cancer research and clinical trials for a broad spectrum of new diagnostic, prevention and treatment strategies for cancer.
"We want cancer patients to benefit from the latest medical breakthroughs, but we also want them to be able to remain close to the comforts of their home and the healing support of their family and friends and that is one of the benefits of the new Gynecologic Cancer Program started by Dr. Sugiyama and Dr. Nguyen," said Scott Gregerson, president of Stanford Health Care–ValleyCare. "Providing the Tri-Valley community the most advanced, highly coordinated care was one of the primary goals behind the partnership between Stanford Health Care and ValleyCare."
Treatment advantages include genetic testing, molecular profiling and chemo-sensitivity testing for cancer patients, utilizing Stanford pathology labs and participating in Stanford tumor boards for multidisciplinary, collaborative care. "It's an advantage to have surgery in centers that have access to expert pathology labs," said Dr. Nguyen, noting that the accuracy in such labs is estimated to be five- to ten-percent higher than in community-based labs.
Other services offered in the Gynecologic Cancer program at SHC-Valley Care include helping women at high risk for gynecologic cancers understand their genetic counseling results and treating non-cancerous gynecologic problems that require complex surgery.
Helping patients stay in their own community for treatment is a primary goal of the new program. "As members of the Stanford faculty, we bring our knowledge and information and access to the best clinical research to our patients, but try to stay within the community," she said. "We work with community doctors, including oncologists, radiologists and gynecologists, so we are able to provide very specialized cancer treatments while allowing our patients to stay close to home."