Gynecological Cancers

 

Gynecological cancer includes five main types of cancer that affect the female reproductive system, in areas such as the vagina, cervix, uterus, vulva, and ovaries. All women are at risk of developing a form of gynecological cancer, with risk increasing with age. To identify early signs of cancer, it is recommended that women schedule appointments with a doctor for a Pap test, since catching the cancer before it can spread and develop further.

 

Learn more about the treatments available for gynecological cancer, the possible side effects from treatment, and more by clicking the links below.

 

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER

The signs and symptoms of gynecological cancer can vary from patients to patient, since many factors can affect what types of symptoms manifest such as the type, stage, and location of cancer. Some common symptoms that can be signs of developing gynecological cancer include:

 

• Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge

• Pelvic, abdominal, or back pain

• Bloating

• Frequent urination

• Persistent constipation, diarrhea

• Itching or burning feeling in the vulva

• Change of color in vulva

 

If you experience any of these symptoms, we recommend you schedule an appointment with a doctor for an examination.

 

HOW GYNECOLOGICAL CANCERS ARE TREATED

All types of gynecological cancer can be treated to reduce symptoms and the chance of recurrence. The type of treatment that a patient will receive depends on their overall health and the type, location, and stage of cancer. The most common treatments for gynecological cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Often, these treatment methods are used in conjunction with each other to improve effectiveness.

 

RADIATION THERAPY TREATMENT

Radiation therapy uses doses of radiation to kill cancer cells, and stop it from growing or spreading to other parts of the body. The radiation damages the cancer cells and destroys their ability to multiply. The cells eventually die off, since the cancerous cells lack the ability to regenerate from radiation damage, while healthy cells heal over a short period. There are two types of radiation therapy, which are:

 

• External Beam Radiation Therapy – a machine directs concentrated beams of radiation at the tumor, affecting the cancer cells and a small amount of surrounding healthy tissue.

• Brachytherapy – in a minor surgical procedure, small tubes are placed next to the tumor. The radiation oncologist places a small amount of radioactive material into the tubes, allowing for more direct radiation exposure to the cancer cells.

 

To determine which form of radiation therapy is best for your treatment, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You can also learn more about radiation therapy at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center by visiting our Types of Radiation Therapy page.

 

SURGICAL TREATMENT GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER

Surgery is commonly used as a treatment for gynecological cancers, effectively removing cancer tissue from the patient. In the case of internal gynecological cancers, the surgeon may perform a hysterectomy, which is a procedure in which the uterus and cervix are removed. It is also possible for the surgeon to remove the lymph nodes in order to prevent the cancer from spreading.

 

CHEMOTHERAPY FOR GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER

Chemotherapy treats gynecological cancer by using various medications that target and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is unique compared to other treatment methods, because the medication targets the whole body instead of an isolated area. The dosage and frequency of chemotherapy treatments will be determined by a medical oncologist.

 

GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESOURCES

National Cervical Cancer Coalition

1-800-685-5531
www.nccc-online.org

 

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

1-888-OVARIAN
www.ovarian.org

 

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

202-331-1332
www.ovariancancer.org

 

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund

212-268-1002
www.ocrf.org

 

Share

1-866-891-2392
www.sharecancersupport.org

 

Women’s Cancer Network

312-578-1439
www.wcn.org

 

Also see Helpful Links

 

BROCHURE

Download some helpful brochures from www.rtanswers.org:

Questions to Ask

*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.


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