Dr. Bradford Whitcomb is UConn Health’s newest gynecologic oncologist. He specializes in the holistic care of women with endometrial, cervical, or ovarian cancer or precancerous conditions.
With the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology chair Dr. Molly Brewer, Whitcomb provides full-service gynecologic oncology services including advanced imaging, biopsies, chemotherapy, radiation, and minimally invasive or open surgery at the state-of-the-art Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health’s Outpatient Pavilion and at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.
Each patient also has access to a vast group of UConn Health’s multi-specialists, cutting-edge clinical research trials, and support services.
“It is so important to me to treat each of my patients like my own family member with the most personalized, comprehensive patient care experience, and the kindest and gentlest approach,” Whitcomb says. “It is so personally satisfying to me to have the ability each day to help women and their families through their cancer diagnosis and care.”
Whitcomb is a retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel who served in the Army Medical Department for more than 25 years. He also was deployed several times in Iraq and Afghanistan as an OB/GYN, surgical assistant, and combat research team member.
It is important to me to treat each of my patients like my own family member.
“The Army was a conduit for me to attend medical school and have the privilege to care for women my entire career,” says Whitcomb. “Women run our families. It’s critical for women to remain healthy and team with their doctors to ensure they are having their annual primary care and GYN screenings, which are the basis for preventing illness and catching a female cancer early.”
According to Whitcomb, most gynecological cancers have early warning signs that women need to stay ahead of with their doctors. These may include unusual bleeding, abdominal pain, bloating, and difficulty eating. Other concerns include increased risks of endometrial or uterine cancer as obesity rates among women rise, as well as making greater efforts to increase cancer screenings among underserved female populations.
But Whitcomb reports the biggest challenge in gynecologic oncology is still preventing and catching ovarian cancer, the most lethal cancer in women, early. He is currently working with Dr. Pramod Srivastava, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, to recruit newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients to the world’s first clinical trial testing a unique genomics-driven immunotherapy vaccine aimed at preventing the disease’s recurrence.
“Bottom line, to beat female cancers we need open lines of communication with both referring primary care and OB/GYN physicians, and women need to feel comfortable reaching out directly for consultation,” Whitcomb says. “Don’t hesitate to make that call. The UConn Health family is here to help.”