How can you reduce your risk of gynecological cancer?
You can reduce your risk of gynaecological cancer by taking these steps - HPV vaccine: Infection with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) a sexually transmitted virus often leads to some types of gynaecological cancers such as cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. The HPV vaccine offers protection against HPV infection and can prevent such types of cancers if taken at specific age groups. Undergoing regular Screening tests: These tests are performed for the early detection and diagnosis of cervix cancer or its precursors and can be done even in the absence of any symptoms in women after the onset of sexual activity. PAP test: Here the superficial cells from the cervix are scraped and studied under a microscope. This is a painless test and can help find precancerous and other cell alterations that may lead to cervical cancer. HPV test: Women who are thirty years or above can take the HPV test to identify their risk of the HPV virus. If any of these tests are abnormal then a colposcopy is required to rule out cancer wherein the cervix is examined under magnification and any suspicious areas seen are biopsied.
What are the different treatments required for treating gynecologic cancers
The treatment depend on the site of the origin of the tumour and the extent of its spread in the body (stage). The various options available are Surgery In very early stages it may involve removal of a part or a complete organ (conventional surgery). In cases with early spread the affected organ with surrounding areas of direct spread are removed (radical surgery). In certain cases with further spread of cancer the effected organs along with other involved organs or structures may need to be removed (ultra radical surgery). Some surgical procedures are performed by minimally invasive techniques which do not require opening of the abdomen. These are suitable for certain specific procedures and may be either Laparoscopic surgery - It is a minimally invasive surgery that is performed using a thin tube called a laparoscope and is through small incisions are made into the abdomen. Robotic Surgery -This is similar to laparoscopic surgery but this type of surgery allows the surgeon to leverage robotic arms to perform complex surgeries with precision and accuracy. Compared to normal surgeries, robotic surgery leads to lesser discomfort and a shorter recovery period. Radiation Therapy - In this type of therapy, a high dose of radiation is administered to the cancer site to reduce or destroy the cancer cells. This treatment is usually given by an external machine in multiple short sessions and is painless. Sometimes the radiation source is placed under anesthesia in the uterus or vagina for a short duration (brachytherapy). Chemotherapy - This involves use of drugs active against the specific type of cancer. These drugs are usually given intravenously and hence travel to all parts of the body (systemic chemotherapy). In certain conditions like ovarian cancer sometimes the chemotherapy drugs are delivered directly into the abdomen (intraperitoneal chemotherapy), The intraperitoneal chemotherapy drugs may be administered at normal temperature, however specialized techniques (HIPEC) allow drug to be delivered at higher temperatures. to increase its effectiveness.
When should I visit a gynaecological oncologist?
If your gynaecologist has diagnosed an abnormality in the screening tests like pap smear, HPV test or detected a suspicious finding on ultrasound , then you must visit a gynaecologic oncologist. Additionally, if you have been diagnosed with the following conditions then you should visit a gynaecological oncologist. Ovarian cancer Cervical cancer and cervical dysplasia Uterine cancer Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia Vaginal or vulvar cancer and vulva dysplasia Fallopian tube cancer.
Are there any diagnostic tests that are available to treat gynaecological cancers?
Diagnostic tests for early detection depend on the symptoms and the site and type of the cancer that is suspected. Usually, a pap smear or HPV test is used to screen for cervical cancer. In case of abnormal results, a colposcopy and biopsy of the cervix is done to confirm cancer. In case of suspected uterine cancer a biopsy of the uterine lining is done through the cervix. Ultrasound is helpful in detecting ovarian tumors. CT scan, MRI and PET scans are useful to define the spread of the disease.
Can I get pregnant after getting the treatment?
Fertility preservation during the treatment of gynaecological cancer depends on the type of cancer you are suffering from and the stage you are in. Based on your condition, your gynaecological oncologist will prepare a treatment plan and will suggest different options to preserve your fertility if feasible.
Why should I visit a gynaecological oncologist.
Gynaecologic oncologists are specially trained in diagnosing and treating cancers of the female reproductive organs. They have a complete understanding of the normal physiology of these organs and the effects of a cancerous change in them. Hence they are best suited to offer total care right from diagnosis to management to the women with gynecologic cancer or its precursors and the complications ensuing therefrom. They also play a pivotal role in coordinating care between other specialties like radiation and medical oncology whenever required in the treatment of gynecologic cancer.
What are the risk factors of gynaecological cancer?
Some of the common risk factors of gynaecological cancer include – HPV infection. Use of tobacco. Post menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Obesity. Reduced immunity due to certain diseases or drugs. Family history of breast, ovarian, uterine or colon cancer or certain genetic mutations.
What are the common signs and symptoms of Gynaecological cancer?
There are no specific symptoms of gynaecologic cancer. However depending on the site of the tumor several signs and symptoms if that women should look out for if persistent include - Irregular periods or abnormal vaginal discharge Post-menopausal bleeding Bloating Pain in the pelvic/abdominal area Frequent urination Feeling full Lump in abdomen.
How do you define Gynaecological cancer?
Cancers that arise from the reproductive organs of women are known as gynaecological cancers. These include - Cervical Cancer Endometrial Cancer Ovarian and fallopian tube Cancer Vaginal Cancer Vulva Cancer Gestational trophoblastic tumours.