Treating Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

After GTD is diagnosed and staged, your medical team can recommend one or more treatment options. Doctors on your 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
  • Type of GTD present
  • The level of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin in your blood,
  • How long you've had the disease
  • Sites of metastasis (cancer spread) if any
  • Any treatment already used.

In selecting a treatment plan, you and your medical team will also consider your age, general state of health, and personal preferences.

It's important to start 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. See Treatment of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, by Type and Stage for information about common treatment plans.

It's important to discuss all of your treatment options, including their goals and possible side effects, with your doctors to help make the decision that's best for you. It’s also very important to ask questions if there's anything you’re not sure about. You can find some good questions in What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Gestational Trophoblastic Disease?

Thinking about taking part in a clinical trial

Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done to get a closer look at promising new treatments or procedures. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they're not right for everyone.

If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials. See Clinical Trials to learn more.

Considering complementary and alternative methods

You may hear about alternative or complementary methods that your doctor hasn’t mentioned to treat your cancer or relieve symptoms. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.

Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of a doctor’s medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping you feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be dangerous.

Be sure to talk to your cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what's known (or not known) about the method, which can help you make an informed decision. See Complementary and Alternative Medicine to learn more.

Help getting through cancer treatment

Your cancer care team should be your first source of information and support, but there are other resources for help when you need it. Hospital- or clinic-based support services are an important part of your care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, rehab, or spiritual help.

The American Cancer Society also has programs and services – including rides to treatment, lodging, and more – to help you get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.

The treatment information given here is not official policy of the American Cancer 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.