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Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

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Women in need of gynecological surgery for cancer have new options

Dr. G. Scott Rose

The three women that Dr. G. Scott Rose saw in his office on a recent Wednesday typified the types of patients he expects to see when he’s in Fredericksburg.

Two of the patients had been diagnosed with uterine cancer, and one had a suspicious mass on her ovaries. All were candidates for surgery. All were residents of the region.

In the past, many cancer patients such as these, with complex gynecological problems, would have gone to surgeons in Richmond, Charlottesville or Northern Virginia. With the arrival of Rose and his colleagues from Mid-Atlantic Pelvic Surgery Associates, these patients now have another option.

“We’re saving them a trip,” Rose said.

The Mid-Atlantic surgeons, based in Northern Virginia, arrived in Fredericksburg in June. In addition to Rose, Dr. Annette Bicher and Dr. John Elkas have been working here. They join Dr. Georges Chamoun, a gynecological oncologist from Richmond, who visits the Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center weekly.

“This is an underserved community with respect to GYN oncology,” Rose said.

The Mid-Atlantic doctors have leased local office space and obtained surgical privileges at Mary Washington Hospital. They’ve also been presenting cases at the hospital’s cancer conference, the regular meeting of doctors who treat cancer.

“They’re very much involved in our cancer program,” said Regina Kenner, cancer navigator for Mary Washington.

Their plan is to partner with local gynecologists, some of whom will join them in the operating room.

Dr. Tammy Leonard

“If you’re going into surgery, and there is a possibility that you could encounter cancer, these surgeons bring specialized skill to the operating room,” said Dr. Tammy Leonard, a Fredericksburg obstetrician/gynecologist and chairwoman of the Women’s Health Institute at Mary Washington.

Leonard has joined the Mid-Atlantic doctors for surgeries on 12 of her patients. Before their arrival, she would have referred these patients to out-of-town surgeons, she said.

“I’m thrilled,” Leonard said. “It’s great for my patients.”

(For more details about the new service, see the story soon in the paper.)