Cancer is a cell abnormality disease where the cells present in the body augment uncontrollably. Gynecological cancers similarly mean a cell abnormality that affects the women’s reproductive organs. Primarily six types of cancers have ever affected women worldwide. These include cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, and fallopian tube cancer.
The specification and name of each cancer might be easy to understand; however, understanding the symptoms and screening process isn’t. To date, only cervical cancer has screening tests among all of these which means that apart from cervical cancer, a woman can’t identify any other cancer by getting regular screenings. It transmits the point that something so prevalent is not precautionary through modern medicine. Hence, to catch the problem early, women need to check for even the slightest signs.
When many of us are unsure what gynecological cancer curtails under its blanket, how can we look for signs? This is why we came up with this blog. Keep reading the FAQs to find the signs, symptoms, and every minute detail that you need to keep a naked eye on.
Q-1: What Is Gynecological Cancer?
The female reproductive system diagram highlights the fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, etc. The given picture below includes various organs of a woman’s reproductive system.
Gynecological cancers can be any cancer that develops inside a woman’s reproductive parts. The nomenclature of cancer depends on the area of the body where it begins to develop and grow. Cancers start in various sites inside a woman’s pelvis, known as gynecological cancer. The pelvis lies below the abdominal part and between the hip bones.
Q-2: What are the different kinds of gynecologic cancer?
Each gynecologic or gynecological cancer is different, and every cancer type has unique signs, symptoms. Also, every gynecological cancer has various risk factors and prevention strategies. Following are a few kinds of gynecological cancer:
- Cervical cancer starts developing in the cervix, which is a narrow end located below the uterus. It is also known as the womb.
- In ovarian cancer, the tumor begins developing in the ovaries,
- Uterine cancer builds the tumor inside the uterus. It is a pear-shaped organ where the fetus grows and gets nutrients during pregnancy.
- In vaginal cancer, the tumor forms in the vagina. It is a tube-like hollow part of the body.
- Vulvar cancer develops in the vulva, the outer area of the female genital organs.
All females are in danger of gynecological cancer, and the risk potentially gets increased with age. When these cancers get detected in the early stage, the cure is most effective.
Q-3: What are the symptoms of gynecological cancer?
Gynecological cancer symptoms differ according to the type of cancer. A few gynecological cancers may include similar symptoms. Also, gynecological cancer symptoms vary based on the person, the type of cancer, and the stage. In a few cases, women may not feel any symptoms. Some of the most common gynecological cancers: ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, and fallopian tube cancer
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer areas
Below are the signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding
- Pain, pressure, or lump in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal pain during sex or urination
- Uncertain weight loss
Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include
If you have cervical cancer, look for these symptoms:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Uncertain and excessive vaginal bleeding
- Intense pain in the pelvic area
Symptoms of ovarian cancer:
If you have ovarian cancer, you might have any of these symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Indigestion, gas, nausea, or heartburn
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Sense of fullness
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fatigue or weakness
- Back pain
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal weight loss
- Excessive urination
- Shortness of breath
Vaginal cancer symptoms include:
These are some of the most common vaginal cancer symptoms that most women experience:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Excessive discharge
- Pain at the time of urination or sex
- A growth or lump in the vagina
- Unusual pain in the pelvic area
Signs of uterine cancer are:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider consulting with your doctor:
- Difficult, painful, and frequent urination
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Intense pain during sex
- Abnormal pelvic pain
Symptoms of vulvar cancer include:
Consult your doctor if you have some of these symptoms:
- An open sore that doesn’t heal for a month
- Persistent burning or itching in vulva site
- Changes in the color or appearance of the vulva
- Vulva skin appears white or feels rough.
Fallopian tube cancer symptoms:
Below are some of the fallopian tube cancer symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Pain or pressure on the pelvic area
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- A flesh growth or lump in the pelvic area
Q-4: What are the causes of gynecological cancer?
Multiple risk factors may increase the possibility of various kinds of gynecological cancer. These risk factors include:
- Menstrual and reproductive history, including the beginning of your menstruation, prior to age 12 or having menopause after age 55 and never having children
- Human papillomavirus infection or HPV infection
- weak immune system or an HIV infection
- Previous breast or gynecological cancer history
- Family gynecological cancer history
- Excessive use of fertility drugs or oral birth control
- High-fat diet
- Estrogen therapy
- History of pelvic area radiation
Q-5: How can one diagnose gynecological cancer?
Frequent visits to your gynecologist will surely help recognize early signs and symptoms of gynecological cancer. At the time of your pelvic screening, your gynecologist will look for irregularities and inflammation on the uterus, cervix, ovaries, vulva, and vagina. A Pap screening test is used to detect the presence of cancer cells on the cervix.
If any gynecological cancer gets suspected, your doctor may recommend diagnostic X-ray tests, including:
- MRI or CT scan to check the prevalence of the cancer
Your doctor may add additional tests to diagnose or screen gynecological cancer, including:
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): It dilates the cervix to remove the abnormal tissues from the uterine lining and cervical canal.
- Colposcopy: The method of viewing the vagina and cervix with a magnifying lens.
- Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): It uses a heated wire loop to remove the cancer cells and tissues.
- Laparoscopy: Insert a lighted, thin tube via a small incision in the lower belly to send pictures to a video monitor.
- Biopsy: Taking tissue samples during processes.
- CA-125, OVA 1, or HE4 blood tests: the method of testing your blood for ovarian cancer-associated biomarkers.
Q-6: What are the different treatments of gynecological cancer?
University Cancer Centers, cancer specialists in Houston provide modern gynecological cancer treatments. Depending on the diagnosis, we function with patients to analyze the most suitable treatment plan for them. These are some commonly used treatment methods for gynecological cancer:
Curing gynecological cancer with medications
Treatment of gynecological cancer with the help of medications is a choice for a few women suffering from gynecological cancer, based on the stage and kind of gynecological cancer. Your gynecologic oncologists might recommend:
- Immunotherapy: Includes stimulation of the immune system so that the body can better fight gynecological cancer.
- Chemotherapy: The process of using drugs typically given orally or injected into a vein to destroy cancer-causing cells.
- Hormone therapy: The method of using hormones to cure and prevent recurrences of a few kinds of gynecological cancer
Intraperitoneal chemotherapy is a unique and intricate process that delivers chemotherapy drugs straight to the abdominal column via a catheter. Delivered in a few ovarian cancer cases, it focuses on cancer cells in the belly, reducing drug exposure to healthy tissues. Merely expert surgical oncologists and gynecologists such as those in University Cancer Centers’ gynecological cancer program can offer this kind of intense treatment.
Surgical treatment for gynecological cancer
Gynecological cancer treatments can be different for women, and surgery is usually part of the treatment strategy to destroy or remove as much of the cancer tissue as possible. Minimizing the size of the cancer tumor enhances the effect of subsequent chemotherapy or radiation therapy as there will be less amount of tumor to treat.
As surgery is a prime part of a patient’s personal care treatment plan, we use optimal invasive methods whenever possible. A standard robot-assisted surgery or laparoscopic approach helps patients recover speedily, back to their regular life, or begin the next stage of treatment sooner.
Our experts’ team also specializes in coping with complications from pre-gynecological cancer therapies. Such complications consequently are fistulas that need fixing by our experienced surgeons.
Q-7: What types of Surgeries are performed for Gynecological Cancer?
There are several types of gynecological cancer, and all can be cured of different kinds of procedures. Surgery generally involves removing the cancer tissue but might also include removing the cervix, ovaries, uterus, or other parts in the pelvic area.
Surgical treatments for gynecological cancer are as follows:
- Debulking surgery: It is used to remove as much of the cancer tissue as possible, generally in preparation for chemotherapy, so there will be a small amount of tumor to treat
- Radical hysterectomy: This surgery is performed to remove the cervix, uterus, and part of the vagina; it might also remove the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or nearby lymph nodes
- Total hysterectomy: Used to remove the cervix and the uterus
- Unilateral salpingo or oophorectomy: this surgery is performed to remove one fallopian tube and one ovary
- Omentectomy: Performed to remove the omentum (a thick pad within the belly cavity)
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: it removes both fallopian tubes and both ovaries
- Lymph node removal: It is performed to remove a little or all lymph nodes affected by cancer.
Q-8: What is the life expectancy and survival rate for gynecological cancer?
Survival rates of any disease give you a rough idea of what percentage of the population with the same kind and stage of cancer can live a definite amount of time after being diagnosed. Doctors can’t give you assurance on how long you will live, but they may likely help provide you with a better understanding of how possible it is that your cancer treatment will be successful.
Find the survival rate of different gynecological cancers in tabular form:
|Type of Cancer||Stage of Cancer||Life Expectancy
(Depending on the severity and stage of cancer)
(Depending on the severity and stage of cancer)
|Cervical Cancer||Pre-stage Cervical Cancer and Post-stage Cervical Cancer||0-5 years||93% – 15%|
|Fallopian Tube Cancer||Pre-stage Fallopian Tube Cancer and Post-stage Fallopian Tube Cancer||3- 7 Years||93% – 30%|
|Uterine Cancer||Pre-stage Uterine Cancer and Post-stage Uterine Cancer||1-5 years||90% – 15%|
|Ovarian Cancer||Pre-stage Ovarian Cancer and Post-stage Ovarian Cancer||More than 5 Years||93% – 10%|
|Vulvar Cancer||Pre-stage Vulvar Cancer and Post-stage Vulvar Cancer||1-6 years||86% – 20%|
|Vaginal Cancer||Pre-stage Vaginal Cancer and Post-stage Vaginal Cancer||1-5 years||84% – 57%|
Q-9: Which is the deadliest Gynecological cancer?
When it comes to the deadliest gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer leads the queue. It is the most lethal gynecological cancer, which takes more than 15,000 lives of women every year in the United States.
Though being the 11th most common gynecological cancer, ovarian cancer is the fifth major cause of cancer-related deaths in females. Talking about the survival rates of ovarian cancer, they are lower than any other type of cancer that affects females.
Ovarian cancer rarely shows any signs or symptoms in the early stage. Due to this, it often goes unidentified until it has spread completely. At this post-stage, signs may occur, but it is difficult to cure and is usually malignant. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are typically uncertain and may be attributed to other illnesses that are not cancer. The symptoms of ovarian cancer include instantly feeling full after eating a small amount of food, abdominal bloating or inflammation, weight loss, pain in the pelvis area, constipation, and quick urination.
However, the cause of ovarian cancer is unclear and may occur at any age. But it is most common in females ages 50 to 60 years. You are at high risk if you have a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, including male chest cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, or uterine cancer. Other factors that raise the risk of gynecological cancer include endometriosis, infertility, early age periods, and late occurrence of menopause and hormone therapy.
Q-10: How can University Cancer Centers help me?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of gynecological cancer, University Cancer Centers is always there for you. We have the best of all-time treatment techniques and equipment. You will get personalized cancer treatment at our facility and a great environment that will surely help fight gynecological cancer. We also organize awareness campaigns in gynecological cancer awareness month to share this kind of cancer knowledge.
Are you looking for expert gynecologic oncologists? Visit University Cancer Centers and benefit from the most recent cancer treatments.