Gynecological cancer is a categorization of various types of cancer that involve the female reproductive system, including the vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. The most common types of gynecological cancer are uterus, cervix, and ovarian cancer. Pap tests help doctors identify early signs of gynecological cancer and help women create a treatment plan. Catching cancer early can improve the effectiveness of treatment.
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
- Prevention and Early Detection
- Treating Gynecological Cancers
- Radiation Therapy
- Gynecologic Cancer Resources
Signs and Symptoms Of Gynecological Cancer
The various types of gynecological cancer differ in their potential signs and symptoms. Below are some symptoms that can be signs of different forms of gynecological cancer:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Pelvic, abdominal, or back pain
- Frequent urination
- Persistent constipation, diarrhea
- Itching or burning feeling in the vulva
- Change of color in vulva
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation. Once the type of cancer and stage are identified, the doctor can begin to create a treatment plan.
Prevention and Early Detection
Like with most cancers, the strongest method of prevention is leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, and avoiding alcohol and drug use. Genetic testing may be recommended for those with a family history of gynecological cancers.
Getting regular pap smears at your gynecologist’s office, as well as protecting yourself from HPV infections are also recommended. Your doctor can administer the HPV vaccination in-office, which helps protect against many cases of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers.
How To Treat Gynecological Cancers
The ideal treatment for gynecological cancer depends on the type of cancer, where it originates, the stage of the cancer, and the patient’s overall health. Common treatments for gynecological cancers include radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three.
Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy)
Provided by a radiation oncologist, this cancer treatment uses targeted doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and hinder cancer growth, while preserving healthy tissue. There are two main types of radiation therapy, which are:
- External Beam Radiation Therapy - an external machine is used to deliver a beam of radiation to the body, targeting and killing cancer cells.
- Brachytherapy - small tubes are surgically inserted into the body near the tumor small amount of radioactive material is placed in the tubes, emitting radiation directly into the tumor.
To determine if radiation therapy is right for you, schedule an appointment with a radiation oncology center for a consultation.
Surgery For Gynecological Cancer
Surgery is a main curative treatment for many gynecological cancers, and is commonly used in conjunction with radiation therapy to improve cure rates and lower the rate of recurrence. In some cases, radiation therapy can eliminate the need for surgery, but for many other gynecological cancers, surgery is a key part of treatment plans.
Surgery for internal gynecologic cancers often involves the removal of the uterus and cervix, in a procedure called a hysterectomy. Also, the surgeon may remove the lymph nodes to check for cancer that may have spread. The complexity of the surgery varies greatly on the individual and the particular case of cancer.
Medical Therapy (Chemotherapy)
Provided by a medical oncologist, chemotherapy uses medication that fights cancer cells throughout the body. There are many different types of medications that can be used for chemotherapy, and which ones will be used will be determined by the medical oncologist. The dose and frequency of treatments vary on each individual case, and will be determined by the doctor after identifying the type, stage, and location of the cancer.
To learn more about your treatment options, visit our Types of Radiation Therapy page.
Contact Us For More Gynecological Cancer Information
If you have questions about the different types of gynecological cancer or the treatments available, contact us at the Northeastern Nevada Radiation Oncology Center. We provide professional care and radiation therapy out of our local Elko, NV cancer center, for women who are battling gynecological cancer. Call us for more information.
GYNECOLOGIC Cancer Resources
National Cervical Cancer Coalition
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Women's Cancer Network
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Download some helpful brochures from www.rtanswers.org:
*Content provided by the American Society for Radiation Oncology, www.rtanswers.org, and the American Cancer Society.Back to top ▴