WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology: Providing Advanced Specialty Care in Local Communities across South Central Pennsylvania

By: Hannah Stuart
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

As a provider of advanced gynecologic cancer care, WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology makes leading-edge diagnosis and treatment readily available to the women of South Central Pennsylvania.

A lack of easily accessible, local expertise in gynecologic cancers can discourage women from addressing possible symptoms promptly, and having to travel significant distances for diagnosis or treatment is a further barrier to receiving potentially lifesaving specialized care. With that in mind, WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology has board-certified and fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologists to support women within WellSpan’s local systems of care in York, Gettysburg and Ephrata. In addition, cancer centers and outreach services in Gettysburg, Ephrata, Hanover and York permit most women to receive pre- and post-surgical care and other services in their own communities.

“Our specialization allows us to see a larger number of women with gynecologic malignancies,” says Timothy McGuinness, DO, gynecologic oncologist with WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology. “That removes the patients’ burden of frequently having to be on the road.”

A Multipronged Approach

WellSpan specialists diagnose and treat cervical, endometrial, vaginal and ovarian cancers, as well as precancerous conditions and pelvic masses. Though endometrial cancer is the type treated most often, Dr. McGuinness notes that he and his colleagues also see a significant number of ovarian cancer cases, along with primary peritoneal carcinomas. Treatments can include infusion therapy, on-site chemotherapy, cancer and precancerous surveillance, and inpatient and outpatient procedures including robotic-assisted surgery.

“I used to be a general practitioner, so I know what it’s like when you send a patient away to a subspecialist and you don’t hear back from him or her. We communicate closely with referring physicians, and we all work diligently for the patients because the patients are why we’re here.”
— Timothy McGuinness, DO, board-certified gynecologic oncologist with WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology

WellSpan utilizes the da Vinci Surgical System to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures ranging from relatively simple to complex — including a significant number of procedures performed on obese patients who have benign conditions.

“The benefits to patients from robotic-assisted surgery are incredibly valuable; not only do they experience less pain and discomfort, but their hospital stay and overall recovery time are shortened,” Dr. McGuinness says. “As one example, we’re now using the da Vinci for radical hysterectomies in certain cervical cancer patients. That used to require patients to remain in the hospital for multiple days.”

Close Collaboration with Referring Providers

The majority of WellSpan Gynecologic Oncology’s patients are referrals from general gynecologists and primary care physicians, and Dr. McGuinness emphasizes the lengths WellSpan goes to in order to keep referring physicians fully involved in the care of their patients.

“We make every effort to ensure they know what’s going on with their patients — particularly from the standpoint of treatments, and whether surgery, radiation or chemotherapy is used,” he says. “The patient often comes to us through the primary care provider’s diligent effort to get her into the proper setting for specialized care, and we work cooperatively with the physician throughout the process.”

For more information about gynecologic oncology services available at WellSpan, visit www.WellSpan.org/WellWomen.