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Mater’s gynaecological oncology team leads the way for improved outcomes for women

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Mater’s gynaecological oncology team leads the way for improved outcomes for women
Mater’s gynaecological oncology service has become the busiest in Queensland and cares for both public and private patients. The service aims to improve surgical outcomes for women through the use of advanced minimally invasive techniques, including laparoscopic and robotic surgery—over 290 robotic cases completed so far. 
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mater’s gynaecologic oncology team have managed to increase the number of patients seen through thoughtful reengineering of case management and patient flows. To optimise treatment, weekly multidisciplinary meetings are held to enable a team approach with a focus on individualised patient care. 
Consultant-led ward rounds for all patients has also led to significant improvements in the ability to conduct research and implement improvements at the bedside. Research work is supported by a dedicated Case Manager which allows the implementation of nurse-led projects as well as clinical and scientific research. Three international and Australian Fellows conduct rotations as part of the service each year, and also participate in clinical research.
The team collaborates with leading international clinical research units such as Mayo Clinic Rochester, researching new surgical techniques. These include sentinel node biopsy and its role in the treatment of endometrial cancer. Mater's gynaecological oncology team are also involved in an international study of heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) in the treatment of ovarian cancer with Mater South Brisbane as lead site in Australia.
The team work closely with Mater researcher, Professor John Hooper, with a focus on transitioning research into clinical practice. Through collaborations with TRI, QIMR and Griffith University the clinical team have successfully achieved multiple research grants in excess of $5million. The gynaecological oncology team work closely with the histopathologists at Mater Pathology who, under the leadership of Dr Rohan Lourie and Dr Deborah Smith, consistently provide high quality diagnostic support.  
As part of their state-wide commitment, the gynaecological oncology team provide a telehealth service to Cairns Base Hospital and are also working to ensure all Mater hospitals across Queensland have the same access. The team conducts regular outreach clinics in Townsville and provide care for both public and private patients from this region. 
The Mater gynaecological oncology specialists work collaboratively with their obstetric colleagues which has enabled them to establish the largest Placenta Accreta Service in Australia which is a tertiary service, receiving referrals from around Queensland. Significant improvements in outcomes have been achieved including markedly decreased blood loss, ICU stay, general morbidity and indeed mortality for the women with this rare but serious pregnancy complication. Outcomes from this work have been published and presented locally and internationally.
Looking to the future the Mater gynaecological oncology team are establishing a dedicated survivorship service for patients. Work on this important initiative has already begun and will involve a move towards genuine holistic care for cancer patients including psychosocial aspects, follow-up and survivorship. We are introducing a familial cancer clinic in conjunction with Professor Christopher Pyke, Director of Surgical and Acute Care Services.

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