Cancer Q & A
What are gynecologic cancers?
You've probably had a Pap smear screening test during a women's wellness checkup before. A Pap smear screens for cervical cancer, which is well known but is only one of the different types of gynecologic cancers.
This group of cancers occurs anywhere within your reproductive system, so gynecologic cancers affect only women. Gynecologic cancers can develop when abnormal cells start to grow and spread rapidly throughout any of your reproductive system organs.
What are the different types of gynecologic cancers?
There are five main kinds of gynecologic cancer:
Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of your cervix, the canal joining the uterus and vagina. It is the only form of gynecologic cancer that’s preventable with regular screening.
Uterine cancer affects any part of your uterus. Ninety percent of uterine cancers occur in the endometrium, the uterine lining.
Ovarian cancer occurs in one or both of your two ovaries. Ninety percent of ovarian cancers occur within the epithelial cells on the outside of the ovaries.
Vaginal cancer is uncommon. Eighty-five percent of cases start in the uterus, cervix, or elsewhere.
Vulvar cancer occurs in the outer genitals. It usually begins in the squamous skin cells.
Fallopian tube cancer, which is very rare, is another form of gynecologic cancer.
How are gynecologic cancers diagnosed?
The Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology team can identify many gynecologic cancers in their precancerous stages. At annual well-woman exams, you have the exams and screening tests you need to identify and treat cancer successfully.
In many cases, gynecologic cancers don't have obvious symptoms in the early stages, so your regular exams are vitally important.
Pap smears are a very common screening test that can identify precancerous cells in your cervix. If you have possible signs of gynecologic cancer during your well-woman exam, you may need blood tests, a transvaginal ultrasound, or other tests, like colposcopy.
How are gynecologic cancers treated?
Treatment approaches can range from watchful waiting to chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely a noninvasive or minimally invasive treatment approach will work.
If you're looking for a compassionate OB/GYN team who can expertly handle all aspects of gynecologic cancers, call Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology, or click on the appointment request tab.