Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

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Treating Gestational Trophoblastic Disease TOPICS

How is gestational trophoblastic disease treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.
The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.
Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

The first part of this section describes the various types of treatments used for gestational trophoblastic (jeh-STAY-shuh-nul troh-fuh-BLAS-tik) disease (GTD). This information is followed by a description of the most common approaches used to treat these cancers based on the type and classification of GTD.

Making treatment decisions

After GTD is diagnosed and staged, your medical team can recommend one or more treatment options. Doctors on your cancer treatment team may include:

  • A gynecologist: a doctor who treats diseases of the female reproductive system
  • A gynecologic oncologist: a doctor who specializes in cancers of the female reproductive system
  • A radiation oncologist: a doctor who uses radiation to treat cancer
  • A medical oncologist: a doctor who uses chemotherapy and other medicines to treat cancer

Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including nurse practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals.

No matter what type or stage of GTD a woman has, treatment is available. Your treatment choice depends on many factors. The location and the extent of the disease are very important. Other important factors include the type of GTD present, the level of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin [HYOO-mun KOR-ee-AH-nik goh-NA-doh-TROH-pin]), duration of the disease, sites of metastasis if any, and the extent of prior treatment. In selecting a treatment plan, you and your medical team will also consider your age, general state of health, and personal preferences.

It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible after GTD has been detected. The main methods of treatment are:

Sometimes the best approach combines 2 or more of these methods. It is important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. It’s also very important to ask questions if there is anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions to ask in the section “What should you ask your doctor about gestational trophoblastic disease?

The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for GTD, followed by a discussion of the most common approaches based on type and stage.

Last Medical Review: 02/06/2014
Last Revised: 03/03/2014