Newswise — When Linda Muller was diagnosed with serous cell endometrial cancer in 2016, she and her husband George turned to the all-female gynecologic oncology team at John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center for her care — a decision that the couple credits with Linda’s complete recovery and continued good health seven years later.
“I’m a wife, mother, a realtor, and a cancer survivor — and I am well today because of the swift, personal, professional, and skilled care I received,” said Linda.
Serous cell endometrial cancer is an aggressive, uncommon type of uterine cancer. Within a few weeks of her diagnosis, Linda underwent robotic surgery performed by gynecologic surgical oncologist Ami P. Vaidya, M.D., vice-chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, co-chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and director of the Minimally Invasive and Robotic Gynecologic Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Dr. Vaidya — along with gynecologic surgical oncologists Mira Hellmann-Ostrov, M.D. and Merieme Klobocista, M.D. — are the most experienced, highest-volume robotic gynecologic surgeons in New Jersey. Each of the team’s three surgeons has personally performed more than 1,000 robotic gynecologic cancer surgeries, making them among the region’s leading experts in robotic and minimally invasive gynecologic oncology procedures.
“Our team of physicians have a wealth of experience and take a team approach to gynecologic cancer care,” said Dr. Vaidya. “We use state-of-the-art robotic technology to perform complex minimally invasive surgical procedures, which means a faster recovery, a lower risk of complications, and better cosmetic outcomes for our patients.”
After Linda’s surgery and recovery were complete, Dr. Vaidya introduced her to members of the breast oncology and medical gynecologic oncology team, Donna M. McNamara, M.D. and her colleague Deena Mary Atieh Graham, M.D., who provide medical oncology care to patients who have been diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer.
“We reviewed Linda’s treatment plan with her and her husband, explained what she could expect in terms of chemotherapy side effects, and reassured her that we would be here to help her through any challenges she might face,” said Dr. McNamara.
"I appreciated being cared for by this incredible team of women who treated me as though I was a family member — a mother or a sister,” said Linda. “They saved my life, and I will be eternally grateful."
Yingqui Luo is another patient who benefited from the care of Hackensack University Medical Center’s gynecologic oncology team. She was diagnosed with stage 1C ovarian cancer in 2019 at age 54. She was initially referred to a male oncologist but found Dr. Vaidya through her own research.
"This diagnosis was a shock. Based on the nature of it, I felt it was important to see a woman because I felt more comfortable talking to a woman,” said Yingqui. “The entire team was incredibly sensitive to everything I was feeling, both physically and emotionally. It is because of them that I am alive today."
Yingqui underwent a hysterectomy performed by Dr. Vaidya, followed by six chemotherapy treatments under the supervision of Dr. McNamara. Although Yingqui still has a scar to remind her of her experience, she is now 58 and cancer-free.
“I want to provide support and encouragement to other patients who are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer,” said Yingqui. “The entire team at Hackensack University Medical Center was instrumental in saving my life, and I want to pay it forward.”
“In addition to being leaders in gynecologic cancer care, we are a team of real women with families and careers who are caring for other real women right here in our community — and because we understand the concerns of women, we are able to deliver expert, supportive, and compassionate care,” said Dr. Vaidya.