Gynaecological Oncology – Cancer Treatment

Introduction – Gynaecological Oncology

Gynaecological oncology involves diagnosis and management of following oncological conditions found in women:

  • Uterine Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Vaginal Cancer
  • Vulvar Cancer

Oncologists need to have a precise and goal-oriented approach to treat these cancers, which can be as follows:

  • A specific treatment plan is determined by the oncologists for each patient. What matters the most here is the proper diagnosis. Gynaecological pathologists help at this stage to identify the exact type of cancer.
  • It becomes very critical for the team of oncologists to deliver the sketched treatment plan.
  • Multidisciplinary care allows evaluation of the treatment periodically.
  • Patient’s recovery has to be supported throughout the treatment.

 

  1. 1.      Uterine cancer

Uterine cancer begins when malignant cells start growing in the uterus.  The most common type of uterine cancer begins in the lining, or endometrium, and is also called endometrial cancer.  Uterine sarcoma, develops in the muscle or, myometrium, and is a different type of cancer from endometrial cancer. The most common symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Uterine cancer can occur at the onset of menopause, but usually occurs after menopause.

Treatment- If biopsy reports find out uterine cancer, the oncologist prepares an individualized treatment plan for patients, involving the whole patient and multidisciplinary care. Treatment for uterine cancer may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal Therapy
  1. 2.      Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynaecologic cancer after uterine cancer. It causes more deaths than any other gynaecologic cancer. The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age. Family history of the disease is one of the most significant risk factors.

Ovarian cancer treatment may involve:

  • Surgery
  • Diagnostic Evaluation and Staging
  • Chemotherapy and other medical oncology treatments
  • Radiation therapy
  • Imaging Services
  • Follow-up for disease recurrence
  1. 3.      Cervical cancer

The cervix is the lowest part of the uterus, opening at the top of the vagina during birth.  Cervical cancer is caused when the cells in the cervix begin to change and grow (dysplasia).  The cells can become malignant and the cancer can spread to the uterus and surrounding organs.

The highest risk factor for developing cervical cancer is carrying the human papillomavirus, (HPV).  Not all women carrying the virus will develop cervical cancer, but it is important for women who know they carry the virus to have an annual Pap smear to check for changes in cervical cells.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are as mentioned below-

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Unusual vaginal discharge, that may include bloody streaked mucous
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse

Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are few treatment options available in management of cervical cancer.

  1. 4.      Vaginal cancer

The vagina or the birth canal is a muscular tunnel connecting the uterus to the outside of a women’s body.  Vaginal cancer can occur when malignant cells develop in the muscular tissue of the vagina.  It is a rare form of cancer that usually occurs in women who are older than 60.  Women may also be at risk if their mothers took a drug called diethylstilbestrol, a drug prescribed during the 1960′s to prevent miscarriages. Other risks may include carrying the human papilloma, (HPV), or having a previous abnormal Pap smear.

Symptoms-

  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina, not like a menstrual flow
  • Vaginal lumps
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pelvic pain

If vaginal cancer is caught in its early stages, it is very treatable and outcomes can be excellent.

Treatment for vaginal cancer may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  1. 5.      Vulvar cancer

The vulva is comprised of the external female genital organs, including the vaginal lips, clitoris and the skin surrounding the vagina. Vulvar cancer occurs when malignant cells are developed in any of these organs. Vulvar cancer can develop over a period of years, as cells undergo abnormal changes before becoming malignant. This phase is called vulvar intraepithelial neplasia (VIN) or dysplasia.  Risk may include carrying the human papillomavirus, (HPV) and advanced age.

Symptoms-

  • Abnormal bleeding different from menstruation
  • Vulvar lumps
  • Itching in the vulva
  • Pelvic pain

When evaluated for vulvar cancer, your doctor will take a complete medical and family history as well as perform a pelvic exam to examine the organs of the female reproductive tract for any changes in size or shape. The following tests may be ordered by your doctor to fully evaluate you for vaginal cancer:

  • Pap smear
  • Biopsy

- Link of interest: Twitter Gynaecological Oncology – Cancer Treatment.

 

This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.

 

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