Nadim Bou Zgheib, MD

Dr. Nadim Bou Zgheib provide an array of services for women with cancer. Due  to the variety of cancers that may affect the reproductive system, multiple treatment modalities are utilized to treat these cancers, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.  The majority of gynecologic cancers are treated with a combination of these modalities. Most often, surgery is combined with post-operative radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In some circumstances, surgery is deferred or postponed until after radiation or chemotherapy has been completed. The skill and training of a gynecologic oncologist allows him or her to assess the status of the cancer and bring the proper treatments in the proper sequence to bear.

Care of Women With Cancer

Compassionate care for women with gynecologic malignancy is available at the Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center, located adjacent to the Marshall Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital. Dr. Bou Zgheib works closely with physicians trained in radiation therapy to coordinate care for women with cervical, endometrial, vaginal or vulvar cancer. Not all women with these cancers will need radiation therapy, but when it is indicated, it is available.  In close association with the nursing staff of  the Cancer Center, they manage and oversee the treatment program for  women with ovarian cancers or advanced cancers at other sites, when chemotherapy  is required.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that sometimes cancer treatments are not enough to control cancers, and that some women will die of their disease. Dr. Bou Zgheib is well-versed and experienced in pain management, symptom management, palliative care and end of life issues. They work closely with Hospice Agencies from a number of counties to assist patients in maintaining their quality of life.

Care of Women Without Cancer

Gynecologic oncologists have additional training in surgical techniques and management of more involved and difficult surgical challenges. OB/GYN specialists will sometimes refer difficult or involved surgical candidates to the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, even though the patients do not have cancer. These patients present a wide variety of challenges, from concurrent medical problems, to extensive adhesions, bowel involvement, bladder difficulties, severe prolapse of the female organs, or other factors complicating surgery.

Medical Education

The educational role of the Division of Oncology cannot be understated. Residents of the medical school actively participate in the care of patients, assist at surgery and in the hospital, and see patients with Dr. Bou Zgheib in the office setting. Medical students observe surgeries and assist in patient assessment in the hospital and the office. Lectures at both the medical student level and resident level are provided at regular intervals.

Ovian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the ovaries. The ovaries make female hormones and produce a woman's eggs. Ovarian cancer is a serious cancer that is more common in older women. Treatment is most effective when the cancer is found early. Screening for ovarian cancer is not recommended for most women.

What is ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer forms in tissues of the ovary. (An ovary is one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed.)

Tumors in the ovaries can be benign, which means they are not cancer, or they can be malignant, which means they are cancer.

Cancers that start in the ovaries can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastasis. Cancer that starts in the ovaries and spreads to other parts of the body is still called ovarian cancer.

Who gets ovarian cancer?

Around one in every 60 women in the United States will develop ovarian cancer. Most ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women over 60, but this disease can also affect younger women. Among women in the United States, ovarian cancer is rare. Most ovarian cancers are diagnosed among women ages 55 to 64, but ovarian cancer can also affect younger women.

Are some women more at risk for ovarian cancer?

Women with a high risk of ovarian cancer are those with a harmful mutation on the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These mutations can be found with a blood test. Women with a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer also have a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

If you have family members in multiple generations with breast cancer or ovarian cancer, see your doctor to learn more about your risk of ovarian cancer. Research shows that certain steps, such as surgery to remove the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, may help prevent ovarian cancer in women who are at high risk. The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better your chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early, because its symptoms are also the symptoms of many other illnesses.

What are the symptoms of ovarian cancer?

The following may be symptoms of ovarian cancer if they continue or get worse over time:

  • Pain in the pelvis or abdomen (belly)
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Urinary urgency (needing to pee right away)
  • Urinary frequency (having to pee often)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Feeling full quickly while eating
  • Having difficulty eating
  • Vaginal bleeding or other discharge that is different than normal
  • Back pain

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. He or she can determine if the cause is cancer or something else. Your doctor also may ask you to visit a gynecologic oncologist. This is a doctor who focuses on cancers of the female pelvis.

Should I be screened for ovarian cancer?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against screening women who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer. The USPSTF found that testing for ovarian cancer may do more harm than good. Current testing methods, like pelvic exams, ultrasound, and blood tests, can lead to "false positives" (results that say a woman has ovarian cancer when she really does not have ovarian cancer). These incorrect results can lead to surgeries that are not needed and that can be risky.

Some women, like those who are at high risk, can talk to their doctor about their risk and what they can do to help prevent ovarian cancer.

Appointments are available through physician referral.
For more information, call 304-399-6600 or FAX 304-399-6604 

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Nadim Bou Zgheib, MD