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August 2008 Issue

W. Edward Richards, MD, is director of women's cancer for the UC Barrett Cancer Institute at University Hospital.
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Texas Native Named Interim Director of UC Gynecological Oncology Division

By Amanda Harper
Published August 2008

W. Edward Richards, MD, has been named interim director of UC’s gynecologic oncology division. He also will serve as director of women’s cancer for the UC Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital.

Richards specializes in treating pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions in the reproductive tract. He also has extensive experience in open, laparoscopic and robotic surgical procedures for gynecologic cancers, which include ovarian, uterine and cervical.

Until a few years ago, open and laparoscopic surgeries were considered the standard of care for gynecological cancers, but robotic surgery has become more favorable.

Robotic surgery is a method of operating inside the abdomen using robotic “arms” and specialized instruments inserted through small incisions into the body. A surgeon controls these arms from a computer console.

“Robotic surgery typically results in less post-operative pain and shorter recovery times when compared to traditional ‘open’ surgery,” explains Richards. “A cancer diagnosis is stressful enough without the added frustration of a long recovery. Robotics helps us get women back to the things and people they love faster.”
As interim director of gynecologic oncology, Richards will play a key role in the joint cancer program, a collaborative initiative involving the UC College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University Hospital that provides 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 the Barrett Cancer Center that offers cutting edge medical treatment, clinical trials, screening information and support services such as yoga, counseling, nutritional coaching and relaxation therapy.

“I want 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 alleviated,” he explains.

In addition to providing comprehensive gynecologic surgery and chemotherapy services, Richards will lead a robust clinical trials program to investigate new chemotherapy drugs, surgical procedures and screening methods aimed at reducing the stage of disease onset—particularly for cervical and ovarian cancer.

“In the past, much of cancer research was focused on extending life after diagnosis, but that yielded a small gain,” says Richards.

“Our research focus has shifted toward preventing cancer at the front end. Now we are focusing on vaccine and genetic trials to evaluate women at risk versus waiting for the disease to occur.”

Richard joins UC from a private practice in Texas. He earned his medical degree from Texas Tech University and completed his residency at Texas A&M University and a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of Kentucky.

To schedule an appointment, call (513) 584-6373. For information on gynecologic cancer clinical trials, call (513) 584-7698.

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