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Ogden Regional Medical Center
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mins

Gynecologic Cancers

It is estimated that 91,730 women will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer in 2013 (American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Figures 2013). Gynecologic cancers should be treated by a specialist with advanced training, such as a gynecologic oncologist.

Our team includes highly skilled physicians and staff with many years of experience managing advanced surgical care for gynecologic cancer. They provide the personal care and surgical expertise you need when confronted with complex gynecological conditions.

The choice of therapy to treat gynecologic cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Our services include a thorough evaluation, consultation and education on your diagnosis.

Gynecological cancers include:

  • Uterine
  • Ovarian
  • Cervical
  • Vaginal

Uterine Cancer

Uterine cancer usually occurs after menopause. Being obese and taking estrogen-alone hormone replacement therapy (also called menopausal hormone therapy) also increase your risk. Treatment varies depending on your overall health, how advanced the cancer is and whether hormones affect its growth. Treatment is usually a hysterectomy, which is surgery to remove the uterus. The ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed. Other options include hormone therapy and radiation.

The uterus, or womb, is an important female reproductive organ. It is the place where a baby grows when a women is pregnant. There are different types of uterine cancer. The most common type starts in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. This type of cancer is sometimes called endometrial cancer.

The symptoms of uterine cancer include:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during intercourse

Ovarian Cancer

The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They produce a woman's eggs and female hormones. Each ovary is about the size and shape of an almond.

Cancer of the ovary is not common, but it causes more deaths than other female reproductive cancers. The sooner ovarian cancer is found and treated, the better your chance for recovery. But ovarian cancer is hard to detect early. Women with ovarian cancer may have no symptoms or just mild symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage.

Symptoms may include:

  • A heavy feeling in the pelvis
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Abnormal periods
  • Unexplained back pain that gets worse
  • Gas, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite

To diagnose ovarian cancer, doctors do one or more tests. They include a physical exam, a pelvic exam, lab tests, ultrasound, or a biopsy. Treatment is usually surgery followed by chemotherapy.

Cervical Cancer

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus, the place where a baby grows during pregnancy. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called HPV. The virus spreads through sexual contact. Most women's bodies are able to fight HPV infection. But sometimes the virus leads to cancer. You're at higher risk if you smoke, have many children, use birth control pills for a long time, or have HIV infection.

Cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms at first. Later, you may have pelvic pain or bleeding from the vagina. It usually takes several years for normal cells in the cervix to turn into cancer cells. Your health care provider can find abnormal cells by doing a Pap test - examining cells from the cervix under a microscope. If there are abnormal cells, you will need a biopsy. By getting regular Pap tests and pelvic exams you can find and treat any problems before they turn into cancer.

Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination. The choice of treatment depends on the size of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread and whether you would like to become pregnant someday.

Vaccines can protect against several types of HPV, including some that can cause cancer.

Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer. It is more common in women 60 and older. You are also more likely to get it if you have a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection or if your mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) when she was pregnant. Doctors prescribed DES in the 1950's to prevent miscarriages.

It often doesn't have early symptoms. However, see your doctor if you notice:

  • Bleeding that is not your period
  • A vaginal lump
  • Pelvic pain

A Pap test can find abnormal cells that may be cancer. Vaginal cancer can often be cured in its early stages. Treatment might include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Content obtained from NIH: National Cancer Institute