Cincinnati—W. Edward Richards, MD, has been named director of women’s cancer for the University of Cincinnati (UC) Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital. He will also serve as interim director of UC’s gynecologic oncology division.
He began seeing Cincinnati patients in late July at the Barrett Cancer Center in Coryville and University Pointe in West Chester.
Richards specializes is treating pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions in the reproductive tract. He has more than 10 years of experience as an attending physician, providing care for patients with gynecologic cancers, which include diseases that involve the cervix, ovaries, uterus, and vulva. He also performs minimally invasive surgical procedures, including robotic surgery.
Historically, open and laparoscopic (minimally invasive) abdominal surgery has been considered the standard of care for gynecologic cancers. Although not applicable to every patient or disease process, Richards says minimally invasive surgical procedures have become appropriate in certain cases.
Robotic surgery is a method of operating inside the abdomen using robotic "arms” and specialized instruments inserted through small incisions (about half an inch each) into the body. The surgeon controls the operative arms from a computer console.
"Patients who undergo robotic surgery typically experience less post-operative pain and shorter recovery times when compared to traditional open surgical methods,” Richards explains. "A cancer diagnosis is stressful enough without the added frustration of a long post-surgical recovery period.”
As director of women’s cancer, Richards will play a key role in the joint cancer program.
The joint cancer program is a collaborative initiative involving the UC College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University Hospital that brings together interdisciplinary research teams of caring scientists and health professionals to research and develop new cures, while providing a continuum of care for children, adults and families with cancer.
He says his long-term vision is to create an all-inclusive women’s cancer program at Barrett Cancer Center that offers cutting edge medical therapies, clinical trials, screening programs and patient support services such as counseling, nutritional coaching, relaxation therapy and other aesthetic services.
"My goal is to transform an area that has historically been one of the most stressful places for patients—a cancer treatment center—into a positive place where their fears are calmed and their ailments are addressed and potentially eliminated,” he explains.
In addition to providing comprehensive gynecologic surgery and chemotherapy services, Richards will lead a robust clinical trials program to investigate new screening methods aimed at early disease detection and treatment strategies that may improve patient survival.
"In the past, most clinical cancer research has focused on prolonging patients’ lives after their diagnosis—a method that yields small gains,” says Richards. "Our research is beginning to focus on evaluating new treatment strategies, vaccines, genetic risk factors and other variables to identify, evaluate and treat women at risk for gynecologic cancers.”
Richards joins UC from Gynecologic Oncology Associates, a successful combined private- and university-based practice in Lubbock, Texas. During this time, he also served as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University’s School of Medicine and principal investigator of several Gynecologic Oncology Group-sponsored clinical research studies.
Richards is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both gynecologic oncology and general obstetrics/gynecology.
A Texas native, he completed his medical education at Texas Tech University’s School of Medicine, followed by residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M University/Scott & White Memorial Hospital and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of Kentucky.
To schedule an appointment with Richards at the Barrett Cancer Center, call (513) 584-6373. Appointments can also be made at the University Pointe by calling (513) 475-8266 .
For more information on gynecologic cancer clinical trials, call (513) 584-7698.