Overview

Mercy Health physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating cancers of the female reproductive system, including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and cervical cancer. Innovative screening methods and treatments are provided with compassion and respect, to care for your mind, body and spirit. When abnormal cells in the body divide and grow out of control, cancer can occur. Gynecologic cancers begin in your reproductive organs, and, while symptoms are different for each type of gynecological cancer, here are some common signs:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge 
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvis 
  • Pain in the abdomen or back 
  • Bloating 
  • Changes in bathroom habits (increased urination, constipation and/or diarrhea) 
  • Itching or burning of the vulva
  • Changes in the skin of the vulva (rash, sores, warts, ulcers and/or unusual color)

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your gynecologist to discuss your symptoms and schedule any necessary testing.

Cervical cancer

There are three major steps you can take to lower your risk of developing cervical cancer:

  • Get vaccinated - Because nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV, an HPV vaccine can greatly reduce your risk. This one-time vaccination is recommended for girls and women ages 11 through 26.
  • Get regular Pap tests - By testing cells from the cervix, a doctor can detect HPV and precancerous changes and take steps to prevent the development of cancer.
  • Use protection - Using a condom or diaphragm during sexual activity can reduce the risk of being infected with HPV.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer or precancerous cervical changes, it's common to feel overwhelmed and afraid. But many types of cervical cancer can be found early, or even prevented by having regular screening tests. Our mission is to help you overcome your fears and conquer cancer, by understanding how this disease is detected, diagnosed and treated.

Ovarian cancer

While you can't control some risk factors for ovarian cancer, you can take precautions to lower your risk and increase your chance of detecting cancer early, such as scheduling annual pelvic exams, considering ovarian cancer risks before beginning hormone replacement therapy and seeing your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of gynecological cancer. To check for ovarian cancer, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam or blood test. If your doctor suspects you have ovarian cancer, a minimally invasive surgery may be done to collect a sample of tissue and abdominal fluid. Treatment options for ovarian cancer depend on your age, overall health and the stage of the disease, and usually involve a combination of surgery and chemotherapy.

Uterine cancer

To check for uterine cancer, your doctor may perform pelvic or imaging exams, or take a sample of tissue (called a biopsy). If cancer is found, your doctor will perform tests to determine the "stage" of the disease. This is based on the size of the tumor, if it has affected nearby organs or tissue, and if the cancer has spread to other areas in the body, including the lymph nodes. The four basic types of treatment for uterine cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

The most common type of uterine cancer is endometrial carcinoma. It’s often detected early and has a high cure rate. Surgery Removing the uterus through surgery is recommended for most women with endometrial cancer. This procedure, called a hysterectomy, often cures the cancer if it is detected and treated early. But, a hysterectomy makes it impossible to become pregnant. In addition, many women also have their ovaries removed. This causes them to stop producing estrogen and progesterone and experience symptoms related to menopause.

Why Choose Mercy Health?
Many types of gynecological cancer can be cured if found and treated early, which is why regular pelvic exams and screenings are vital. At Mercy Health, our mission is to help you overcome your fears and conquer cancer, by understanding how this disease is detected, diagnosed and treated. Our experienced gynecologists and oncology teams use the most advanced technology to provide comprehensive care for cancer of the cervix, ovaries and uterus. We also understand that while treating the physical symptoms is crucial, it’s just as important to provide compassion and support for patients and families during what can be an extremely emotional time. Mercy Health is dedicated to keeping you well – in mind, body and spirit.

Common Conditions

Cervical cancer
Ovarian cancer
Uterine cancer
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