Gynecologic cancers are diseases of women’s reproductive organs. Our multidisciplinary team has diagnosed and treated them all. Your care team of gynecologic oncologists, surgical oncologists, and radiation oncologists work together to create a plan for your unique treatment needs.
Reproductive cancers affect more than your body. They impact your overall health, emotions, family, and plans for the future. Our team understands and takes your concerns to heart. You’ll be treated as the one-of-a-kind person you are, with your own care needs and treatment goals.
Types of Gynecological Cancers
- Cervical cancer. This is cancer that starts in the cervix and it develops most often in women over age 30. The main cause is a long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a common virus that passes from one person to another during sex.
- Ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer develops in the ovaries and may also occur in these related areas: the fallopian tubes and the peritoneum (the tissue lining covering organs in the abdomen). It is more common in older women, and treatment works best when the cancer is found early.
- Uterine cancer. This cancer starts in the womb, which is the organ where a baby grows during pregnancy. The different types of uterine cancer include endometrial cancer and uterine sarcomas.
- Vaginal cancer. It is a rare type of cancer that starts in the vagina (also called the birth canal). It is more common in women 60 and older, and you’re more likely to get it if you have had human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. You’re also at higher risk if you have had abnormal cells in the vagina, cervix, or uterus.
- Vulvar cancer. This rare disease develops when malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the outer part of the female genitals, called the vulva. The cancer usually grows slowly over a period of years. First, precancerous cells grow on vulvar skin, which is called dysplasia. Not all dysplasia cases become cancerous, but it is best to get treated early.
Treating Gynecologic Cancers
You’ll have a care team that not only treats the disease but helps you manage the side effects. As we develop your treatment plan, we take into account the type and stage of the disease, possible side effects, your age, overall health, and your plans to have children in the future. Treatments may include (in alphabetical order):
- Chemotherapy. This treatment can cure or help control cancer and ease its symptoms. Chemo treatments use specialized medicines to kill cancer cells.
- Hormone therapy. Some cancers test positive for certain hormones that can be treated with hormone-blocking therapy. This treatment can slow or stop the cancer cells from growing or metastasizing.
- Hysterectomy. A hysterectomy is a surgical method that removes a woman’s uterus (the organ where a baby grows during a pregnancy). It may be used to treat cancers of the cervix, ovaries, and uterus. There are three main ways a hysterectomy is performed, including open, traditional, vaginal, or robotic-assisted laparoscopic.
- Radiation therapy. Usually used as a local treatment for these cancers, which means it targets and affects only the part of the body that needs treatment. Some of these therapies use radioactive substances that are given in a vein or by mouth and travel through the body, where it mostly collects in the area of the tumor.
Cancer Support and Rehabilitation
Cancer treatment can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. At Tower Health, we are here to support you every step of the way — from support groups and help managing side effects to wellness services, counseling, and rehabilitation. We offer convenient services close to home in Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Cancer Support Groups
When you have cancer, it helps to have someone who understands how you feel and how your life has changed. Our support groups bring together people who can relate to what you're going through because of their own experiences. Share your challenges and concerns, celebrate triumphs, and be encouraged by others who understand.