Gynecologic cancer is a term that encompasses five types of cancer: ovarian, endometrial/uterine, cervical, vulvar, and vaginal. As a collaborative health care partner, St. Luke's Health combines compassion with advanced care to support women with gynecologic cancer throughout their journeys to better health. Our clinical and academic partnerships provide our cancer patients with access to some of the most advanced oncology research and treatments available.
What are the risk factors and symptoms of gynecologic cancer?
Each individual type of gynecologic cancer has unique symptoms and risk factors. However, all women are at risk for gynecologic cancer, and this risk increases with age.
Symptoms that could indicate gynecologic cancer include:
- Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Itching, burning, or tenderness of the vulva
- Changes to the color or skin of the vulva
- Pain in the abdomen or back
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Pelvic pain or a feeling of pressure
- Feeling full too quickly or having other difficulty eating
How do you diagnose gynecologic cancer?
Of all gynecologic cancers, only cervical cancer has a true screening test: the Pap test, also known as the Pap smear. This test has greatly reduced the risk from cervical cancer because it is able to detect the disease at a very early, more treatable stage. Because the other types of gynecologic cancer have no screening tests, it is very important to be aware of your body's normal state so you can detect any changes that could indicate a medical issue. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your doctor at St. Joseph Health.
To diagnose gynecologic cancer, your physician may order a variety of exams or testing, which may vary based on the area in question.
How do you treat gynecologic cancer?
Surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy could be used in the treatment of gynecologic cancer. The expert team of gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons at St. Luke's Health will discuss the appropriate course of treatment for each patient based on the type of cancer, severity, and the patient's overall health.