Dr. John O. Schorge, a renowned expert in OB/GYN care, is now offering gynecologic oncology and complex gynecologic surgery at Regional One Health.
By making specialized care more accessible, he is improving outcomes for patients diagnosed with cervical, uterine, ovarian and vulvar cancer, along with benign conditions including fibroids and endometriosis.
Dr. Schorge specializes in minimally-invasive procedures, which mean smaller incisions and less risk and recovery time for patients.
When a patient is diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer or another condition that requires complex surgery, finding expert care is crucial – but for the past 25 years, it has been difficult to access in the downtown Memphis area.
John O. Schorge, MD, an internationally renowned expert in gynecologic oncology and complex gynecologic surgery, is changing that for patients in the Mid-South.
Dr. Schorge leads a new practice at Regional One Health that offers world-class care for uterine, ovarian, cervical, and vulvar cancer, as well as non-cancerous conditions like large fibroids or complex endometriosis that requires expert surgery. He sees patients at the main campus in downtown Memphis and East Campus in East Memphis.
Dr. Schorge looks forward to bringing these important services back to Regional One Health.
“Patients who are diagnosed with these conditions are known to have better outcomes when they see a sub-specialist,” Dr. Schorge said. “I’m excited to offer this service to improve the care of women in the Mid-South.”
Dr. Schorge came to Memphis this spring to lead Regional One Health’s OB/GYN service and Chair the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of OB/GYN.
He earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt University and trained at Harvard University for his internship, residency and fellowship. He has nearly 30 years of patient care experience, most recently serving as Division Chief of Gynecologic Oncology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts Medical Center and Associate Director for Cancer Operations at Tufts Cancer Center. He has also authored and/or edited nine books, including the international best-selling Williams’ Gynecology and serves as Deputy Editor of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
As a national leader in the advancement of OB/GYN care, he brings the highest level of expertise to his practice at Regional One Health.
Patients are typically referred to Dr. Schorge by their OB/GYN after a Pap test, biopsy or transvaginal ultrasound indicates a gynecologic cancer or another condition that requires surgery.
Uterine, ovarian and cervical cancer patients usually present with symptoms like abnormal post-menopausal bleeding, bloating, and pain or pressure in their pelvic area, stomach or back. Vulvar cancer patients experience vulvar discomfort and sores.
These conditions are more common after menopause, and a family history of gynecologic cancer is another risk factor.
Uterine cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer, with 65,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States every year, followed by ovarian cancer (22,000), cervical cancer (14,000), and vulvar cancer (7,000). Even more patients are diagnosed with benign conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding.
Fortunately, these conditions are treatable, especially when caught early.
Dr. Schorge focuses on the use of minimally invasive techniques. These targeted laparoscopic procedures are highly effective and less arduous than traditional open surgery. “We’re able to operate and do operations such as hysterectomy with a few tiny incisions,” Dr. Schorge said. “That leads to an easier recovery, lower risk of complications, and a quicker return to work. In many cases, we can do same-day procedures where the patient doesn’t have to stay in the hospital overnight.”
Thanks to Dr. Schorge’s advanced training and expertise, the practice can treat patients with complex problems like very large fibroids, morbid obesity, and scar tissue from prior surgeries.
And, as part of a large academic hospital, they can provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care.
While some of his cancer patients just need surgery, others also require medical or radiation oncology. Dr. Schorge collaborates with his Regional One Health Cancer Care colleagues and partners throughout the UTHSC system to make sure patients can receive all of their ongoing care in one location, which is an enormous asset.
Before, he said, many patients had to make multiple lengthy trips for surgery and treatments – a barrier that caused some to miss appointments or even drop out of their care plan altogether.
“Now, patients can come to Regional One Health and have all of their expert care right here,” he said. “We anticipate that is going to close the gap in health disparities in our region and make it easier to access the specialized services needed to treat these conditions.”
Offering that is rewarding to Dr. Schorge, who was drawn to Regional One Health and Memphis by the opportunity to address unmet health care needs and empower his patients to take charge of their medical decisions and personal wellbeing.
He takes a personalized approach to medicine and makes sure each patient is actively involved in their treatment. “I want patients to have a full understanding of their diagnosis and treatment options,” Dr. Schorge said. “I believe in shared decision making, which means always taking the time to educate patients and answer their questions.”