Gynecologic Oncology is a medical specialty that focuses on the study, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gynecologic cancers.
At Women’s, we provide care from Barcelona to women from all over Spain and other countries who are at different stages of the disease.
We are specialists in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers such as ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer, to name a few.
If you are experiencing symptoms or have been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and would like a second opinion, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist to ensure you receive the proper diagnosis and comprehensive, personalized medical care.
From the first suspicion of cancer, the Women’s Specialists team will be at your side, performing the most appropriate diagnostic tests, informing you of the various therapeutic options, clarifying any doubts you may have, and advising you on the most appropriate treatment for your situation.
How is Gynecological Cancer diagnosed?
At Women’s, we perform the most appropriate tests to obtain an accurate diagnosis that allows us to initiate effective, comprehensive, and personalized treatment.
The main diagnostic tools used in gynecologic oncology are:
- Physical examination and clinical assessment
We perform a complete physical examination, including evaluation of the external and internal genital organs and palpation of nearby lymph nodes.
- Imaging tests:
Ultrasound provides detailed images of the pelvic organs, including the ovaries, uterus, and cervix.
- Computed Tomography (CT)
Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses X-rays and computer technology to produce high-resolution cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a high-resolution imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves.
- PET-CT (Computed Tomography)
PET-CT provides detailed images and provides both anatomical and metabolic information.
Colposcopy is a medical procedure to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva. It is performed with an instrument called a colposcope, which is like a microscope with magnification and a light source.
A biopsy is the removal of a sample of tissue for further analysis in the laboratory.
- Cervical Cytology (Pap Smear)
Cervical cytology, also known as a Pap smear, is a screening procedure that examines the cells of the cervix for possible abnormal changes that may indicate cervical cancer.
- Tumor Markers
Tumor markers are substances produced by cancer cells or by the body in response to cancer. These substances can be found in blood, urine, or other body fluids. Their presence or abnormal levels may indicate the presence of cancer, the prognosis of the disease, or the response to treatment.
Preventing Gynecologic Cancer
Starting at age 25, it is very important that you have a complete gynecological exam every year.
If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or a personal history of uterine, breast, or colorectal cancer, you should have a gynecologic exam as often as your gynecologist recommends.
The annual gynecological exam is a specialized medical visit designed to prevent or diagnose and treat early-stage diseases that can occur at different stages of a woman’s life.
The gynecological exam allows you to take charge of your health and take preventive care, which can be of the utmost importance in avoiding future problems.
If you are experiencing discomfort or pain related to your period, or if you notice changes in your breasts, you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible so that we can evaluate your case and provide you with the support you need.
Gynecologic Cancer treatments
Treatments for gynecologic cancers can vary depending on the type of cancer, stage of cancer, age, and overall health.
At Women’s, treatments are personalized, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive, according to the circumstances of each case and each woman.
The main treatments in gynecologic oncology are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy.
Surgery is often the first line of treatment for gynecologic cancer. The main goal is to remove the tumor and eliminate the cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells and reduce tumor growth in a specific part of the body.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. It is given orally, intravenously, or by injection and may be used as the main treatment or in combination with surgery or radiation therapy.
- Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy in gynecologic cancer is a treatment approach that uses drugs to target the unique characteristics of cancer cells and block their growth and spread.
Immunotherapy stimulates the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. The main goal of immunotherapy is to stimulate, strengthen, or restore the body’s immune response, which normally protects the body from infections and other diseases.
The main types of gynecological cancer are:
Uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, after breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer, and lung cancer.
When we talk about uterine cancer, we are referring to the different types of cancer that can occur in different parts of the uterus.
The most common types of uterine cancer are endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine sarcoma.
Treatment for uterine cancer depends on the type of cancer and the stage at which it is diagnosed.
If uterine cancer is diagnosed at an early stage, the most common treatment is surgery. Often, depending on the stage of the cancer, it will be necessary to add radiation therapy to complete the treatment.
Cervical cancer forms in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina.
The main cause of cervical cancer is chronic infection with the human papilloma virus.
Treatment may include a combination of radiation therapy and surgery, depending on the stage of the cancer and an assessment of the risks of treatment.
Women who have been vaccinated against HPV are much less likely to develop cervical cancer.
But even if you have been vaccinated, it is still very important to have annual gynecological exams starting at age 25 or when you become sexually active.
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the ovaries.
It does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages, and when it does, the symptoms are usually mild and often go unnoticed.
Treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of chemotherapy and surgery, depending on the stage of the cancer and an assessment of the risks of treatment.
Breast Cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cells of the breast.
In Spain, approximately 33,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed every year.
The cure rate for breast cancer is very high (currently 90%) if the cancer is detected at a very early stage during screening or regular check-ups when there are recent symptoms.
Breast cancer treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy, depending on the type and extent of the cancer.
The most important thing is to get an accurate diagnosis so that the specialists who will be involved can develop and agree on the best treatment plan for your health.
Vulvar Cancer, also known as vulvar carcinoma, is a rare type of cancer that develops in the external tissues of the vulva.
The incidence of vulvar cancer is highest in women over the age of 50, but it can also affect younger women.
Treatment for vulvar cancer may include a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, depending on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed, overall health, and personal preference.
Vaginal cancer can start in different parts of the vagina, the muscular canal in the pelvis that connects the cervix to the vulva.
Treatment for vaginal cancer depends on the stage and extent of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health.
Treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Risk Factors for Gynecologic Cancer
Some of the risk factors for gynecological cancer include:
- Lifestyle habits
Alcohol consumption, smoking, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables may increase the risk of gynecologic cancer.
- Family history
A family history of gynecologic cancer of the ovary, uterus, or breast may increase the risk.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
Persistent infection with certain types of HPV increases the risk of cervical cancer.
- Inherited genetic mutations
Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
- Never having been pregnant
Women who have never been pregnant have an increased risk of developing ovarian and endometrial cancer.
- Personal history of cancer
Women with a personal history of uterine, ovarian, or breast cancer are at increased risk.
- Advancing age
The risk of cancer may increase with age.
When should I see a gynecologist?
In the early stages, some cancers may not cause any symptoms, or if they do, they may be so mild that they go unnoticed.
It is important to have a complete gynecological examination every year to prevent future problems or to diagnose and start the most appropriate treatment as early as possible.
Make an appointment to see your gynecologist:
- If you have vaginal discomfort.
- If you have difficulty urinating.
- If you have painful periods.
- If you have pelvic pain.
- If your periods are very irregular or very heavy.
- If you experience discomfort or pain during or after intercourse.
- If you notice a lump or change in the shape or size of your breasts.