St. Vincent Healthcare Partnership to Provide Access to Advanced Gynecologic Cancer Care
Dr. Patrick Cobb, Dr. Chimene Dahl, and Dr. Dr. Saketh Guntupalli announce launch of new program
Women living in the Billings community and the region now have access to some of the most advanced gynecologic oncology care and treatment through a new partnership between St. Vincent Healthcare, now part of Intermountain Healthcare, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine. To date, access to gynecologic oncology in Montana has been limited, often requiring doctors to send patients out of network and out of the region to see a specialist.
Through this partnership, gynecologic cancer specialists from University of Colorado School of Medicine will provide advanced treatment consultation and surgical treatments at St. Vincent Healthcare, allowing patients to receive the most innovative treatment from nationally recognized gynecologic oncology specialists close to home in close coordination with their local medical providers.
“When a woman is diagnosed with one of these cancers, she wants to keep her relationship with her own gynecologist,” said Dr. Patrick Cobb, St. Vincent Healthcare Medical Director of Oncology Research. “We want to set up a system where our local gynecologists participate in the care of these women alongside these incredibly skilled university surgeons who can now perform operations in Billings.”
Approximately 89,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer each year. The latest highly specialized approaches to surgery and treatment offer the best hope of recovery for many women. The five main types of gynecologic cancer are uterine, ovarian, cervical, vaginal, and vulvar.
“We’d been in discussions for some time and realized the synergy between our organizations,” said Dr. Saketh Guntupalli, the University of Colorado’s gynecologic oncology program director. “We are a genetics-based practice and part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a group of institutions that practice high-level cancer care at the forefront of research and development.”
One of the strengths of the partnership is the CU School of Medicine’s clinical trials portfolio, with over 35 cutting-edge clinical trials for women with gynecologic cancer, using things like immunotherapy, vaccines, and novel agents. Additionally, the patients' cases are discussed as part of a multidisciplinary tumor board at the University of Colorado, allowing for up to ten different specialists within the practice to offer opinions on a patient’s case .
“The partnership gives our patients the chance to be included in national studies and access innovative therapies and medications,” added Dr. Chimene Dahl, labor and delivery medical director at St. Vincent. “In the past, you’d have to go to a cancer center in a major city to find these options.”
“Our physician partners in this program are some of the best in the world,” said Dr. Cobb. “They have a hand in creating the guidelines that we use for taking care of these women. The fact that they’re willing to come here to work with our patients is a huge deal.”
Current SCL Health patients can access gynecologic oncology services by talking to their doctor or OB/GYN, or by contacting St. Vincent at 406-238-6290.