According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 43,470 new cases of endometrial cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Kathy Brumbach never could have imagined she would be part of that statistic.
The news came when she received a phone call from her gynecologist, Palmetto Health's Dr. Thomas Giudice with South Carolina OB/GYN Associates, requesting a meeting with her and her husband to discuss her recent test results. Dr. Giudice revealed that her ultrasound and biopsy showed endometrial cancer.
A few days later, Kathy met with South Carolina Oncology Associates gynecologic oncologist Dr. William Merritt to discuss the best course of treatment. After weighing all her options, Kathy decided to have a robotic-assisted hysterectomy at the Palmetto Health Robotic Surgery Center. "I'm 62 years old and have already gone through menopause, so I knew having a hysterectomy wouldn't be earth shattering for me" says Kathy. "Ovarian cancer is called the 'silent killer' because many women don't experience symptoms, so it was reassuring to know that my risk of ovarian cancer would be significantly reduced."
With support of her husband and the encouragement from her physicians, Kathy says she was surprised to find herself calm and optimistic about her disease. "My doctors were very reassuring and helped answer all my questions," says Kathy. "I felt confident that I was in good hands and knew everything would be all right."
Endometrial cancer also is known as uterine cancer. Fortunately, Kathy's cancer was detected in the earliest form of the disease. The cancer was localized to the endometrium, the inner layer of tissue of the uterus, but had not yet spread to any other areas.
As part of Palmetto Health's all-inclusive approach to care, each patient with a newly diagnosed gynecologic cancer has a Nurse Navigator to help them through this difficult time. Gynecologic cancer Nurse Navigator Lindsay Davis has been by Kathy's side from the moment she was diagnosed. Lindsay works directly with gynecologic oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and other specialists to support gynecologic cancer patients. Kathy says, "Lindsay was there for me through it all. I knew I could call her any time day or night."
Dr. Merritt performed a robotic-assisted hysterectomy using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Robotic-assisted surgery is the most advanced form of minimally invasive surgery. During these types of complex surgical procedures, the da Vinci® Surgical System allows oncologists to treat many forms of gynecologic cancers with precision and control.
For patients, benefits of minimally invasive surgery include smaller surgical incisions, less risk of infection, less pain after surgery, decreased blood loss, a shorter hospital stay and a quicker recovery time. Kathy says, "I was only in the hospital one night instead of three, and I only have five tiny incisions instead of one big incision across my abdomen."
Today, Kathy is proud to announce she is cancer-free. "Now, I'm more attuned to any new research and I know what I can do to stay healthy," says Kathy. "I'm thankful to have access to information, people to call, and most importantly, such great healthcare available to me."
Palmetto Health is the only healthcare provider in the Midlands to offer robotic-assisted surgery. To learn more about Palmetto Health's Robotic Surgery Center and the da Vinci® Surgical System, visit the Palmetto Health Robotic Surgery Center.