MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology has experienced remarkable growth over the last two years. By increasing its team of gynecologic oncologists and adding a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, and genetic counselor, the department has expanded its capability to serve gynecologic cancer patients.
“By increasing the number of providers available, we are able to better serve the needs of the women of our state,” Leo Brancazio, M.D., chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said. “We have an increasing cancer burden in our state, and we are constantly working to improve our ability to provide excellent care.”
The team of physicians at WVU Medicine, which includes Valerie Galvan Turner, M.D., and Krista Pfaendler, M.D., two of the three female gynecologic oncologists in the state, and Mohammed Ashraf, M.D., is the largest gynecologic oncology team in the state.
“We’re growing and expanding capacity to be able to take care of more women,” Dr. Pfaendler said. “Some women, prefer to be seen by a female provider. We want to be able to do anything we can to make our patients comfortable as they go through their cancer treatment.”
Drs. Pfaendler and Galvan Turner offer robotic surgery. These advanced techniques allow patients to have a faster recovery after complicated cancer surgeries.
In addition to the gynecologic oncologists, a genetic counselor was added to the staff to help patients make informed decisions about their treatment plan based on their inherited risk.
“Not only has our team expanded to have multiple people to help with each step of the process, but our patients have access to the multidisciplinary team at the WVU Cancer Institute,” Dr. Galvan-Turner said. “We have radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, surgical oncologists, and any other services you might need.”
The team has made changes in the way patients receive care with the adoption of enhanced recovery after surgery, or ERAS. This method allows patients to drink up to two hours before surgery and eat and walk immediately after surgery, often decreasing the amount of time the patient has to stay in the hospital.
“We have experienced incredible growth in our department, which demonstrates our dedication to our patients,” Dr. Brancazio said. “We are always working to find ways to improve the patient experience, and I think the recent additions to our team are going to help us do that.”