Gynecologic oncology is a specialized field of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of cancers that affect the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, vagina, and vulva. Gynecologic oncologists are medical doctors who have completed additional training and certification in the field of gynecologic oncology, enabling them to provide comprehensive care to women with gynecologic cancers. Here are some key aspects of gynecologic oncology:
Gynecologic oncology is a specialized field of medicine focused on cancers of the female reproductive system. Gynecologic oncologists at Synergy Institute of Cancer Care and Research use their training and experience to manage all or most of their patients’ treatment, including diagnosing and staging the disease and performing surgery to remove the cancer.
Types of gynecologic cancers:-
Gynecologic cancers include:
- Cervical cancer
- Fallopian tube cancer
- Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD)
- Primary peritoneal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
Treatments for gynecologic cancers
Before you begin treatment, our gynecologic oncologists and pathologists will work together to perform a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, which may include a pelvic exam, ultrasound, lab and/or other imaging and blood tests, to determine the type and stage of the cancer. Our gynecologic oncologist may also use state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical technology to locate and remove tumors that have spread in the pelvic and abdominal regions—and conduct sentinel lymph node dissections, which are performed to help prevent complications after surgery.
Types of surgeries performed to treat gynecologic cancers include:
- Debulking: In this procedure, as much cancerous tissue as possible is removed and the remaining cancer treated with therapies such as chemotherapy and/or radiation.
- Total hysterectomy: This surgery is performed to remove the entire uterus and cervix.
- Radical hysterectomy: This procedure removes the entire uterus, the tissue on both sides of the cervix and the upper part of the vagina.
- Unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: In this surgery, one ovary and one fallopian tube are removed.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: Both ovaries and both fallopian tubes are removed in this procedure. This type of surgery may be performed to reduce the risk for ovarian and breast cancer.
- Omentectomy: This procedure is performed to remove the omentum, an area of tissue rich in blood vessels covering the intestines and other organs in the abdomen. This is done to debulk or stage the cancer.
- Lymph node removal: This surgery removes surrounding lymph nodes because they may contain tumor cells. This may also be necessary for staging the cancer.
Prophylactic, or preventive, surgery is performed to reduce the risk of cancer. The procedure is typically recommended for women who are at a high risk of developing a certain type of cancer. For example, a prophylactic hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy may be recommended for women diagnosed with Lynch syndrome—an inherited condition that increases the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
In addition to surgery, your treatment may include chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy, either alone or in combination. For example, after surgery, your gynecologic oncologist may administer chemotherapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy, if needed.
For some patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors or those who have a high risk of local recurrence, radiation therapy may be an option. Whenever possible, our radiation oncologists will employ intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to spare normal tissue from radiation exposure, which tends to lower the risk of side effects.
Some options for women with early-stage gynecologic cancers include:
- For cervical cancers, leaving the uterus in place when treating the cancer surgically and removing part or all of the cervix, or, when radiation therapy is delivered as the primary treatment, moving the ovaries out of the way so they’re not exposed to the radiation beams
- For early uterine cancers, treating the cancer with only hormone therapy and leaving the organs intact, or removing the uterus and leaving the ovaries
- For certain stages and types of ovarian cancers, removing only one ovary and leaving the other ovary and the uterus intact