Gynecological cancer refers to cancers that affect the female reproductive system, including the cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and vulva. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.
• No pregnancies
• Unopposed estrogen
• Personal or family history of breast or ovarian cancer
• Genetic mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene
• HNPCC-hereditary nonpolyposis colon cancer
• Genital warts
• Women born to mothers who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant
• History of cervical cancer
• Associated with sexually transmitted diseases–especially human papilloma virus (HPV)
• Sexual activity at an early age
• Multiple sexual partners
The most common gynecologic cancer is uterine or endometrial cancer. More than 40,000 cases are diagnosed each year. Yearly more than 28,000 women die from gynecologic cancer.
Screening with the Pap smear has allowed for the earlier detection of abnormalities of the cervix and vagina. This early detection has helped prevent the development of more advanced disease and has improved survival rates.
Risk Factors :
Uterine or Endometrial Cancer
- Never pregnant
- Young age at onset of menstruation
- Late menopause
- Unopposed estrogen use for hormone replacement therapy
- Family history of uterine cancers
Signs and Symptoms
There are often no outward signs or symptoms of these cancers. However, some of the more common ones are listed below.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- A sore in the genital area that does not heal
- Pain of pressure in the pelvis
- Abdominal bloating
The treatment of gyn cancers is varied. It depends on the type of cancer, its extent or stage, its location, and your overall health.
Prior to your physicians determining the best course of treatment, you will often need a thorough physical exam which may need to be done under anesthesia, biopsies of the tumor, and radiographic studies, such as MRI, CT, PET, or ultrasound to determine the extent of the cancer.
Your treatment team may be composed of multiple physicians:
- The gynecologic oncologist – a surgeon who specializes in -gyn cancers
- The radiation oncologist – a doctor trained to treat cancer with radiation
- The medical oncologist – a doctor trained to treat cancer with drugs or chemotherapy
Your cancer may be treated using only one modality of treatment or you may need some combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.