Female reproductive health concept. Woman hand holding uterus shape made frome paper on pink background. Awareness of uterus illness such as endometriosis, PCOS, STDs or gynecologic cancer.
Gynaecological Cancers or Gynae Cancers are those which develop in a woman’s reproductive organs. They are cancerous growths, broadly categorised based on their location in the female reproductive system. There are five main types of gynae cancers,
Each comes with its own set of symptoms. Let us understand each type in detail.
- Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer development image. Cervix carcinoma stages. Female reproductive system. Anatomy. Gynecology.
This type of cancer starts in the lining of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.
Cervical cancer is usually caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Symptoms of cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain during sex, and unusual watery or bloody discharge from the vagina.
Some signs of advanced cervical cancer might include swelling in the legs, bloating, fatigue, blood in urine, and pelvic pain. Cervical cancer is often treated with surgery to remove the cervix and surrounding tissue. In most cases treatment also includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Ovarian cancer: This type of cancer starts in the ovaries, the organs that produce eggs. Only 20% of ovarian cancers are diagnosed in the early stages due to the smaller size of the ovaries. Patients might not experience any symptoms until the cancer spreads.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be difficult to detect but may include abdominal pain or swelling, bloating, abnormal vaginal bleeding, frequent urge to urinate, pain and pressure in the pelvic region, and fatigue.
Ovarian cancer is often treated with surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes, in addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. In advanced stages, a complete hysterectomy may also be required. Other treatment options might include immunotherapy and targeted drug therapy.
- Uterine cancer: Cancer pelvic PCOS ovary Endo belly pain swelling uterus heavy ovaries cysts examine surgery remove pregnancy endobelly tube cycle period Fertility problem diagnosis menstruation cell polyp cervical
Uterine cancer is the third most common type of gynecologic cancer in India, and it usually affects women over the age of 50. This type of cancer starts in the uterus, the organ where a baby grows during pregnancy.
Uterine cancer develops in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. Symptoms of uterine cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, bleeding after menopause, pain during sex, pelvic pain and unusual discharge from the vagina.
Uterine cancer is often treated with surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy), chemotherapy and radiation. Some other treatment options may involve targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.
- Vulvar cancer: Vulvar cancer is the next most common type of gynaecological cancer, and it typically affects women over the age of 60. This type of cancer starts in the vulva, the external female genitalia.
Symptoms of vulvar cancer include itching, burning, changes in skin colour, wartlike ulcers, and bleeding from the vulva. A family history of melanoma can increase the risk of developing vulvar cancer.
Vulvar cancer is often treated with surgery to remove the affected area, which involves a partial or complete vulvectomy, and a sentinel node biopsy to determine if the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. Treatment may also include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Vaginal cancer: This type of cancer starts in the vagina, the canal that leads from the cervix to the vulva. Symptoms of vaginal cancer include abnormal bleeding, pain during intercourse, pain while urinating, pain in the pelvic region, and abnormal discharge from the vagina.
Treatment may include partial or radial vaginectomy. However, if the cancer is spread to the upper part of the vagina, then a radical hysterectomy or a radical lymph node removal surgery may be needed in addition to a vaginectomy.
Treatment options for gynaecological cancers
A diagnosis of gynaecological cancer can be very frightening. However, it is important to remember that there are many treatment options available, and the chances of a successful outcome are quite good.
Different types of gynae cancers are treated differently. Our oncologists will work with the patient to create a treatment plan that is right for them based on the type of cancer they have, its stage, and their overall health.
- Surgery: Surgery is often the first line of treatment for gynaecological cancers. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, surgery may be used to remove the cancerous tumour, the entire ovary, or the entire uterus.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a common treatment for gynaecological cancers that is often followed by surgery. Chemotherapy uses cytotoxic drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can be administered as a pill or injected into the veins.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It can be directed at the cancer from outside the body or placed inside the body near the cancer.
Most of the time, chemo and radiation goes hand-in-hand, as radiation greatly improves the effectiveness of chemo drugs.
Diagnosis of Gynaecological Cancers
Considering the several different types of gynaecological cancers, each type is diagnosed in a slightly different way.
Our oncologists will take into account individual symptoms and medical history to determine the best course of action for the patient.
- Some types of gynaecological cancers, such as ovarian cancer, may be diagnosed using a combination of a physical exam, imaging scans, and blood tests.
- We may use a transvaginal ultrasound and the CA-125 blood test to diagnose ovarian cancer. Further, we may look at the family history to see if the patient is at increased risk for certain types of cancers.
- Certain types of gynaecological cancers, such as cervical cancer, are usually diagnosed using a Pap test. This test looks for changes in the cells of the cervix, which can be an early sign of cancer.
- We may also recommend other tests, such as an HPV test or a biopsy, to confirm the diagnosis of cervical and other types of gynaecological cancers. An HPV test is used to detect the presence of the Human Papillomavirus, which is responsible for cervical cancers.
Patients experiencing any symptoms that may be related to gynaecological cancers must meet with Dr (Prof.) Amit Javed right away. Early detection and treatment are necessary for a good prognosis.