GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER

Gynecological cancer is a group of five types of cancer that can affect a woman’s reproductive system. Cancer can develop in areas such as the vagina, vulva, cervix, fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. All women are at risk of developing any of these forms of cancer, with the risk becoming even greater with age. A Pap test is recommended for women beginning at age 21 to screen for cervical and other gynecological cancers.

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

Each type of gynecological cancer is unique, so signs and symptoms can vary greatly from case to case. There are some common symptoms that these cancers may share, which 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 notice any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away for a Pap test and examination to screen for early signs of gynecological cancer.

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About Prevention

There’s no guaranteed way to protect yourself against gynecologic cancer, but there are risk factors and prevention methods that every woman should know about. The most important prevention method is leading an active and healthy lifestyle, by exercising often, avoiding smoking and practicing safe sex. Also, HPV vaccinations protect against many cases of cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers, and can be provided by your doctor.

To give yourself the best opportunity to detect cervical cancers in their earliest stages, see your physician regularly for recommended examinations. If you have family history of gynecological cancer, genetic testing may be an option as well.

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How Is Gynecological Cancer Treated?

All types of gynecological cancer are treatable, with those that seek treatment early having reduced symptoms and a lower risk of recurrence. Common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. When creating a treatment plan, your doctor will take the type, stage, and location of the cancer, as well as your own personal health into consideration.

All types of gynecological cancer are treatable, with those that seek treatment early having reduced symptoms and a lower risk of recurrence. Common treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. When creating a treatment plan, your doctor will take the type, stage, and location of the cancer, as well as your own personal health into consideration.

Radiation Therapy For Gynecological Cancer

Harnessing radiation in various forms, radiation oncologists expose cancer cells to radiation, damaging and eventually killing them. Radiation hinders the cancer’s ability to multiply and grow, while also preserving a large amount of healthy tissue. The two main types of radiation therapy are:

  • External Beam Radiation Therapy - the radiation oncologist uses an external machine that delivers concentrated beams of radiation to the area of the tumor.
  • Brachytherapy - small tubes are inserted directly next to the tumor through a minor surgical procedure. Tiny radioactive beads are placed into the tubes, providing direct radiation exposure to the tumor.

To determine what type of radiation therapy is right for you, schedule an appointment with a radiation oncology center for a consultation.

Surgery For Gynecological Cancer

Surgery is typically used as the main curative treatment for many gynecological cancers, and is often used in conjunction with radiation therapy to improve treatment outcomes. A hysterectomy is a common surgical procedure in treating these types of cancers, removing the uterus and cervix to rid the body of the tumor and help prevent it from spreading. If the lymph nodes also pose a risk for the cancer spreading, the surgeon may elect to remove them as well.

Chemotherapy

This treatment method combats gynecological cancer by using various medications that are designed to target and kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a treatment that affects the whole body, instead of just targeting a specific area. The type of chemotherapy medication that will be used, as well as the frequency and dosage of the treatments, will be determined by a medical oncologist.

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Contact Us With Your Questions

If you want to know more about gynecological cancer, the signs and symptoms, and the available treatments options, contact us at the Southeastern Radiation Oncology Center in Juneau, AK. Providing superior care and professional radiation therapy, we help those who have been diagnosed with gynecological cancer, and many other forms of cancer. Call us for more information.

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

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BROCHURE

Download some helpful brochures from www.rtanswers.org:

Gynecologic Cancer Brochure

Questions to Ask

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

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