The Section of Gynecologic Oncology, under the leadership of Dr. S. Diane Yamada provides the best possible care for patients with gynecologic cancers. Our section has 8 full-time gynecologic oncology faculty. Our Section offers innovative treatments, including minimally invasive surgery with the DaVinci robotic system for endometrial cancer and tumor debulking with HIPEC for ovarian/fallopian tube cancer. We also perform radical trachelectomies to preserve fertility in young women with early cervical cancer.
Dr. John Moroney and Dr. Katherine Kurnit from Gynecologic Oncology and Dr. Gini Fleming, from the Section of Hematology/Oncology, run a comprehensive gynecologic oncology clinical trials program that offers patients access to novel treatments. These trials are available not only at the University of Chicago Hyde Park campus, but also at our Orland Park and Silver Cross locations.
Dr. Nita Lee, who is an expert in the treatment of endometrial cancer and surgery in obese patients, has created a survivorship program, along with the Physician Assistants, to address the specific medical needs of cancer survivors. She is the physician lead of the University of Chicago Woman to Woman Peer Mentoring program for gynecologic cancer survivors which promotes survivorship programming and formally trains survivors to serve as peer mentors for newly diagnosed patients. Dr. Lee is also our Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Director, for the University of Chicago/NorthShore University Health System training program. This is one of only two gynecologic oncology fellowship programs in Illinois.
Dr. Josephine Kim brings a keen interest in quality improvement and surgical outcomes research. Dr. Kathyrn Mills is an expert in gestational trophoblastic disease, a condition in which abnormal cells grow and multiply in the uterus during pregnancy.
Dr. Adekunle Odunsi has recently joined the section. Dr. Odunsi holds numerous honors and awards, including election to the National Academy of Medicine in 2018 and the Rosalind Franklin Excellence in Ovarian Cancer Research Award in 2019. He has authored or co-authored more than 360 publications. As a world-renowned physician-scientist, Dr. Odunsi focuses on characterizing the mechanisms of immune recognition and tolerance in human ovarian cancer and translation of the findings to clinical immunotherapy trials. He has pioneered several pre-clinical and first-in-human clinical trials testing vaccination and cellular therapy strategies to elicit antigen-specific responses and prolong remission rates in patients with ovarian cancer. Dr. Odunsi will also serve as BSD Dean for Oncology and Director of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Our physicians work closely with Dr. Kiran Turaga from the Section of Surgical Oncology to offer hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for the surgical treatment of recurrent mucinous cancers. For early cervical cancer, we offer fertility-sparing treatment with radical trachelectomy. Our multi-disciplinary Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine (PRISM) for Women and Girls with Cancer, led by Dr. Stacy Lindau, addresses sexual health concerns in female cancer patients and survivors. Additionally, Dr. Iris Romero, a general gynecologist and cancer researcher, and Dr. Shari Snow, the Chief of our Section of Gynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery, have established a cancer risk program to counsel women at high risk for developing gynecologic cancers.
In addition to our faculty, our clinical team includes highly skilled physician assistants, Mia Kehoe and Anna Ward, and chemotherapy nurses, Julie Lutz, Connie Stewart, and Christine Deskovich, who have had decades of experience caring for our patients. The entire team meets weekly for Tumor Board with Gynecologic Pathology, Radiology, and Medical Oncology attending physicians, to share information and insights that lead to the most effective treatments for our patients.
Our section has an extensive research program focusing on the biology of ovarian cancer and on obesity and endometrial cancer. Our ovarian cancer research laboratory is dedicated to understanding the biology of metastasis. Recently, we have explored the use of high-throughput screening to identify novel drugs that can improve the treatment of patients suffering from cancer. Our members have received research funding from many highly competitive sources, including the National Institutes of Health and the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Additionally, our Section offers innovative clinical trials to give our patients access to novel treatments.
Section faculty are responsible for educating students and residents in the diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers and have consistently demonstrated excellence in teaching. With our colleagues at NorthShore University HealthSystem, we offer a highly competitive, ABOG-approved Fellowship training program in Gynecologic Oncology, which began in 2010.