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Regular wellness exams help discover gynecologic cancers

Gynecologic cancers start in a woman's reproductive organs. Regular wellness exams are beneficial to discover cancer at an early stage.

January 16, 2023
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Gynecologic cancers are a specific type of cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. These cancers are not as common as colon or breast cancer, occurring in about 100,000 women annually in the United States. However, all women carry some risk of developing gynecologic cancers, especially as they age.

Regular women’s wellness exams are the most beneficial way to discover cancer at an early stage. It is important to follow the physician’s advice if you have any signs or symptoms. Early detection greatly improves the treatment of pre-cancers and cancer. The two most common types of gynecologic cancer are ovarian and cervical cancer.

What is Ovarian Cancer? Ovarian cancer is found in the fallopian tubes and occurs in the ovaries, the reproductive glands that produce eggs for reproduction. A woman’s risk for getting ovarian cancer in their lifetime is about 1 in 78.

Factors that increase the risk for ovarian cancer:

  • Getting older
  • Obesity
  • Full-term pregnancy after age 35 or never carrying a pregnancy to term
  • Hormone therapy after menopause
  • Family history of ovarian cancer, breast, cancer, or colorectal cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?  Cervical cancer is found in the cervix, which connects the uterus to the birth canal. Cervical cancer was once a common cause of cancer death for women in America however, rates dropped significantly with the use of the cytology (commonly known as pap smears). Today, it is common for individuals to take a Human papillomavirus (HPV) test in conjunction with a pap smear.

Factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer:

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Sexual history
  • Smoking
  • Long-term use of oral contraceptives
  • 3 or more full-term pregnancies
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history of cervical cancer

Treating Gynecologic Cancer

The treatment course for gynecologic cancers is dependent upon the type and stage of the cancer present. The most frequent course of treatment includes surgery combined with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.  A gynecologic oncologist specializes in surgery and treatment of cancer in female reproductive organs. They will work with the patient, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist as appropriate. When surgery is needed, the gynecologic oncologist will evaluate if robotic surgery or minimally invasive surgery is warranted. Daniel Donato, MD, gynecology oncology physician at Rose Medical Center & Women’s Hospital says, “Our goal is to streamline patient care. As soon as we identify a problem, we will take care of the issue in an expeditious fashion, working with our interdisciplinary team with the utmost care and concern”.

Should you consider minimally invasive gynecology surgery?

Robotic surgery is an innovative type of minimally invasive surgery. Rose performs more robotic gynecologic surgeries than any other hospital in Colorado. Additionally, we offer minimally invasive surgical techniques to patients for whom robotic surgery is not the right treatment option.

Daniel Donato, MD, explains, “Minimally invasive, robotic technology allows for decreased pain, less scarring, smaller incisions, and quicker discharge from the hospital. Patients recover faster and return to normal activities earlier.”

Rose Medical Center & Women’s Hospital offers advanced minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgeries. At Rose, 97% of minimally invasive patients go home within one day and the majority of robotics patients go home the same day. Rose is a high-volume hospital for robotic hysterectomies. High-volume hospitals characteristically offer benefits such as lower operative time, less time in the hospital, lower blood loss, and fewer complications. Visit the Rose Medical Center women's care website or call (303) 575-0055 to learn more about gynecological health or to find a physician. 

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Published:
January 16, 2023

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