At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, we feel that knowledge is your first line of defense against gynecologic cancer. We encourage you to learn more about it by reading through this list of common questions and answers.
Gynecologic cancer is a group of cancers that affect the tissue and organs of the female reproductive system. There are five main types of gynecologic cancers–each of which are named after the organ it originated in. They include:
Causes, risk factors, and symptoms vary among the different types of cancer, making each gynecologic cancer unique as you are. One commonality, however, is that when gynecologic cancers are found early, treatment is most effective.
Unfortunately, all women are at risk for developing gynecologic cancer— and that risk increases with age. However, this does not mean that you will develop one of these cancers. In general, different cancers have different risk factors. With that said, there are some common risk factors they share.
It’s important to remember that many women with one or more risk factors never develop gynecologic cancer–and although there is no proven way to completely prevent these diseases, there may be steps you can take to lower your cancer risk.
Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your personal risk of developing any type of gynecologic cancer. If you have a family history that includes ovarian, breast, endometrial or colon cancers, genetic testing may be a good option for you.
We encourage you to talk with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers’ team of genetic counselors to learn more about testing and counseling available.
Understanding the symptoms of gynecologic cancer can help you be aware of early warning signs. Below is a broad list that covers some symptoms you should be aware of:
Again, this is just a broad list of common symptoms. The American Cancer Society has additional information regarding specific symptoms related to ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, vulvar cancer, and vaginal cancer.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms for more than a month, we highly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. It’s also important to regularly visit your gynecologist for an exam, even if symptoms are not present.
Establishing a relationship with your doctor that includes open dialogue provides you with the opportunity to learn specific information regarding gynecologic cancers. Some questions you may consider asking include:
A treatment plan for gynecologic cancers is as unique as the woman for whom it is designed for and will depend upon a variety of factors, including the type and stage of cancer. The first step, however, almost always includes surgery. Other parts of the regimen may also include chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Because of the complexity of gynecologic cancers there are many pieces to the treatment puzzle. Dr. Donato, our Gynecologic Oncology Surgeon, will work closely with the medical oncologists and radiation oncologists at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers to ensure you receive the most complete and thorough care.
Most non-cancerous medical conditions of the female reproductive system are not serious and in many cases will resolve themselves or can be treated therapeutically. In some instances surgical intervention is required.
When seeking surgical options for the treatment of complex fibroids, ovarian cysts, a pelvic mass or other GYN non-cancerous conditions it is important to put your health in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Dr. Donato performs a high volume of cases, sees a wide range of case types and is both board-certified and fellowship-trained. Gynecological surgery is the only surgery he does and he is focused on options that facilitate optimal care, rapid recovery, and the patient’s fertility. Robotic-assisted surgery can be utilized for many of these conditions with less surgical trauma and quicker recovery.