Go to Top

Gynecological Cancers

Gynecological Cancers

Gynecologic oncology is a sub-field of gynecology that specialises in cancerous growth of the female reproductive organs. Gynecological cancer is a common term to refer to the cancer of the uterus, vagina, cervix, the vulva or the ovaries. Gynecological cancer is the fourth on the list of the most common female cancers affecting about 5% of women worldwide. When found at an early stage they can be treated more effectively. 

The name of the cancer depends on the organ it starts in. There are five main gynecological cancers.

  • Cervical cancer is the most common gynecological cancer that starts in the cervix, which is the part of the uterus that connects it with the vagina. 
  • Uterine cancer begins in the uterus.
  • Ovarian cancer begins on one of the ovaries that are connected to the uterus by the fallopian tubes. This is the deadliest form of cancer treated by gynecologic oncology, it accounts for 50% of deaths. 
  • Vaginal cancer first sets on in the vagina, which is prone to infection because of its contact with the outside of the body.
  • Vulvar cancer is visible as it begins in the outside part of genitals. 

Symptoms of Gynecological Cancers

Each cancer has its own symptoms which naturally sometimes overlap. Here are a few signs that you should pay attention to and if you experience them, turn to your physician, who will refer you to the gynecologic oncology if necessary. 

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding or unusual discharge (often has a foul odour).
  • Consistent pain in the pelvic area, abdomen or back.
  • Changing pattens in bathroom habits, bloating, increased urination
  • Vaginal pain or discomfort
  • Visible changes of the outside genitals (skin colour or texture)


Constant screening is essential in the prevention and efficient treatment of gynecological cancers. Vulvar, and vaginal cancers sometimes and cervical cancer is always caused by a sexually transmittable viral infection called Human Papillomavirus. If the infection is detected early, most cancers can be prevented or diagnosed at a curable stage. There is a vaccine that protects from two types of potentially dangerous HPV, but it is mostly recommended to receive before the individual has any sexual contacts (the lower  age limit is 9 years of age). Ask your gynaecologist for a Pap test at least yearly if you are 21 or older and also HPV test if you are 30 or older. 

Only for cervical cancer does exist a highly reliable screening and preventing system, to detect other types, pay attention to your body’s changes and get a diagnostic testing done when you experience alarming signs. 

Treatment Options For Gynecological Cancer

When diagnosed with gynecological cancer the best option is to turn to a gynecologic oncologist who is specialised in the treatment of these type of cancers. When planning treatment, your physician will consider:

  • the type of cancer you have
  • the stage (whether it is in one organ or already metastatic)
  • your age 
  • general health condition 
  • whether you are planning to get pregnant or no

Chemotherapy is basically a drug therapy that is administered in pills or injections. These substances detects and stops the proliferation of cancerous cells. Because of it adverse side-effects, many patients are reluctant to receive this treatment, even if they cease after the therapy. 

Radiotherapy uses high energy radiation targeting the cancerous tissues. Radiation is always risky, as it can influence negatively the functioning of healthy cells. It is often applied as a complementary treatment before or after surgery to lessen the size or to destroy residues of gynecological cancer. 

Surgical means can take samples and parochially or fully remove cancerous tissues. For less extended, stage I-II cancers, it is possible to perform the operation with minimally invasive technologies. However, with more advanced cancers an open surgery is necessary.