The Westmead Centre for Gynaecological Cancer is one of 6 units in N.S.W. dedicated to treatment and research into gynaecological cancers. Our team specialises in gynaecological cancer and we work with you to provide the best treatment for your needs.We provide complete care for women with gynaecological cancer from the planning for treatment, having surgery to the other therapies you may need to treat your cancer. We have a full range of psychosocial support services as we know a cancer diagnosis and treatment will have an impact on you and your family.
Our service includes major and minor surgery, outpatient treatments and access to specialists in nutrition, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, mental health and social services. We offer you the option to take part in research projects and clinical trials, which help us improve outcomes for your and other women with gynaecological cancer.
Our team includes gynaecological oncologists, trainee doctors in gynaecological cancer, specialist nursing staff, a social worker, clinical psychologist, dietitian, physiotherapist and an occupational therapist.
Associate Professor Alison Brand is a Certified Gynaecological Oncologist who specialises in the care of women with gynaecological malignancies (cancer). She leads the gynaecological cancer team at Westmead Hospital.
See Specialist Profiles Associate Prof Alison Brand
Our team meets weekly with other specialists who care for women with gynaecological cancer. These include:
Radiation Oncologists specialise in the use of radiation therapy for the treatment of cancers.
Medical Oncologists specialise in the use of chemotherapy (drugs) for the treatment of cancers.
Familial Cancer Service provides advice (and genetic testing if needed) to families with concerns about a family history of cancer. Whilst a family link with cancer is uncommon for most gynaecological cancers, a family history (eg. breast and ovarian cancer in the family, uterine and bowel cancer in the family) may need more review. A referral to the Familial Cancer Service will be given to most women with specific types of ovarian cancer.
The Supportive and Palliative Medicine team aims to optimise the comfort, function and social support of patients with a life limiting illness, as well as assisting their family and carers. The team focuses on helping patients have the best quality of life for as long as possible by managing physical symptoms as well as their emotional and spiritual needs.
You will usually be referred to our service by your general gynaecologist or local doctor. We receive referrals from all over NSW. If you live outside Sydney, we work with your local cancer service to provide ongoing care and support.
Once you have been referred to us you will be given an appointment with one of the specialist Gynaecological Oncologists. All appointments can be made by phoning the Westmead Centre for Gynaecological Cancer on 8890-6801 between 8am & 4pm Monday to Friday, except public holidays. For your first appointment please bring:
- Medicare card
- Pension or concession card
- Details of private health fund
- Referral letter
- All test results including blood tests, scans, ultrasounds and x-rays.
It is important that you bring the x-ray or scan films with you, not just the report. If you have already had a biopsy or surgery, please remind your referring doctor to provide the operation report and any pathology results.
Patients who travel more than 100km for treatment are eligible for a refund of some of the accommodation and travel expenses through the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). You can find further information about IPTAAS at enableNSW.
You can view information on accommodation near to Westmead Hospital here.
Pre- Admission Clinic
If surgery is needed you may be asked to attend the Pre-Admission Clinic about a week before your day of surgery. You will be seen by an anaesthetist, a hospital doctor and a nurse. You will be able to ask any questions and you will receive information about your hospital stay and care after discharge from hospital.
You may be booked into the Day Surgery Unit if you are having a surgical procedure that does not need overnight hospital care. Your surgeon will determine your need for either day stay or longer stay care for your surgery. If your plan is for day surgery you will receive a letter that tells you:
- day and time for surgery
- how to get to the Day Surgery Unit
- What paperwork to bring to hospital
- If you need an appointment with the Pre-Admission clinic
We suggest you bring a small overnight bag with basic toiletries and the phone number of the person who will take you home. Wear comfortable easy to dress clothes as you will need to change into a hospital gown for the surgery and place your personal belonging into the overnight bag.
Please ring the Day Surgery the day before your surgery to confirm the time to arrive at the hospital for your surgery.
When you are ready to go home from day surgery, you will need an adult to take you home and stay with you overnight.
Longer stay Surgery
If you need a longer stay in hospital after your surgery, you will usually be cared for in the Women’s Health Ward by nurses who specialise in the care of women with gynaecological cancer and other gynaecological conditions. The Women’s Health Ward is a female-only ward with single and 2-bed rooms.
Your length of stay in hospital will be depend on the type of surgery you had and your post-operative recovery. We will discuss the length of stay in hospital with you before surgery and during your hospital stay.
Discharge from hospital after surgery
From the time we begin planning for you to come to hospital we also begin the plan for your discharge home. We want to ensure that all the correct supports are ready for you to go home safely. You should talk with your family and support people before you come to hospital about what help you may need while you are in hospital and when you go home. Please talk with your doctor and the Pre –Admission staff about what you can expect for going home after surgery.
On the day of discharge you should arrange for family or friends to pick you up by 10am. If your family are unable to be at the hospital by 10am, we will transfer you to the Patient Discharge Unit, on Level 2 of the University Clinics, where you can wait for their arrival.
You will be given detailed post-operative instructions and contact details for the unit staff should you have any concerns after discharge. You will also be given a discharge letter for your local doctor. Your follow-up appointment will usually be made before your discharge.
See the below fact sheets on:
Should you require urgent medical attention, please attend the emergency department of your nearest hospital. If you have recently been discharged from hospital, please take the discharge letter or any other information with you.
The Westmead Gynaecological Cancer Support Group provides information and education for women who have been treated for gynaecological cancers. It is held monthly from February to December in the Education Centre at Westmead Hospital.
For more information contact the Westmead Centre for Gynaecological Cancer on 8890-6801 and ask to speak with the Social Worker or Clinical Psychologist for gynaecological cancer.
Click here for the 2018 dates for the Gynaecological Cancer Group Support meetings
Click here for some guidance to coping with cancer and Christmas
Click here for support via the Cancer Council
Learn how to manage stress with present moment awareness. Mindfulness teaches you how to take control of your life – how to use your own inner resources to reduce stress and other unhelpful behaviours and thoughts – and thus enhance health and wellbeing.
The Mindfulness course is a 4 week course consisting of 1.5 hour sessions held at Westmead Hospital.
For more information see the Mindfulness Course page.
Research is a very important part of care for women with gynaecological cancers. Our centre conducts research into the causes, treatments and outcomes of gynaecological cancer.
An important resource of the department is the GynBiobank. The GynBiobank stores participant samples and data for current and future research projects (http://www.westmeadinstitute.org.au/research/core-technologies/biobanks) and is located within Westmead Hospital.
Our research includes laboratory research, led by Professor Anna deFazio (http://www.westmeadinstitute.org.au/people/researcher-profiles-search/professor-anna-defazio/biography) carried out in the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, through to psychosocial research and clinical trials. We are affiliated with the University of Sydney and we are members of the Sydney West Translational Cancer Research Centre (http://www.sydneywest.org.au/), striving to rapidly translate our research findings into new tests and treatments that will eventually be of direct benefit to our patients.
Cancer clinical trials are research studies in which people volunteer to test new ways to:
• Treat cancer
• Find and diagnose cancer
• Prevent cancer
• Manage symptoms of cancer or side effects from its treatment
Clinic Trials include:
• treatment trials
• quality of life trials
• basic and laboratory research, which may include collection of tissue specimens
• new drug treatment trials
You may be asked to participate in a clinical trial or research study. Participating in a clinical trial may allow you access to a new treatment before it is generally available.
All research studies and trials are approved and watched over by the Westmead Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee.
Taking part in any research project is voluntary, but very much appreciated. The team is always happy to discuss research projects or clinical trials with you. You can view both written information and a video about what it is like to take part in a clinical trial here.
Donations for research into improving the lives of women affected by gynaecological cancer can be made by cheques or money order made payable to:
Gynaecological Cancer Research Fund
A/Prof Alison Brand
Director of Gynaecological Oncology
PO Box 533
Wentworthville NSW 2145
Online donations can be made here.
All donations are tax deductible
Further information on gynaecological cancer