Peter E. Schwartz, MD, is a gynecologic oncologist whose career has been guided by the challenges of treating ovarian cancer.
“I wanted to take care of people who really needed a doctor, which is why I got involved in gynecologic oncology,” says Dr. Schwartz, of finding his specialty after conducting research in a laboratory. “The challenge of ovarian cancer has kept me going. I really thought, after my 40 years in practice, that it would not be a major health issue for women, but it hasn't worked out that way.”
Still, many advances have been and continue to be made. At Yale, Dr. Schwartz pioneered the use of chemotherapy before surgery (as opposed to after) for certain cancers, and showed strong results. “For the most part, we prolong patients’ lives, sometimes for many, many years for advanced cases, even though the cure rates have not dramatically improved,” he says. “But we do cure early stage ovarian cancer.”
Dr. Schwarz says he is inspired by his patients. “We try to do the best we can, and I love working with and taking care of them. he says. “We sit down and I explain how we will approach the management of the disease, with either surgery or chemotherapy first, and we support them. We have a wonderful staff both in the hospital and in our outpatient facilities.”
Dr. Schwartz is a professor of gynecology, obstetrics and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine and, along with his colleagues in gynecologic oncology, remains active in research.