Gynecologic Cancer

Condition

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, you can count on Mercy for expert advice from diagnosis to treatment. We offer comprehensive, compassionate care for all types of gynecological cancers that affect women’s reproductive systems including ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers.  

What is Gynecologic Cancer?

Gynecologic cancer is cancer that affects a woman's reproductive organs. Some types of gynecologic cancer have no symptoms in the early stages. That’s why it’s important to have a regular well-woman exam and get Pap smears routinely to detect diseases, such as cervical cancer before they spread.

Types of Gynecologic Cancer

There are five major types of gynecologic cancer:

Gynecologic Cancer Causes

Some women may be at greater risk of developing gynecological cancer if they inherit a harmful gene mutation, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2. Talk to your Mercy physician to see if genetic testing may be right for you.

Gynecologic Cancer Symptoms

If a gynecological cancer is present, you may experience unusual abdominal or pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse or skin changes in your genital area. If any of these symptoms persist, contact your Mercy doctor immediately to set up an evaluation. 

Our gynecologic oncologists bring the latest therapies, advanced technologies and years of experience to every woman in our care. Your entire Mercy team will work to ensure you and your family understand your diagnosis while also exploring the most effective treatment options.

Gynecological Cancer Treatment at Mercy

Mercy’s cancer team treats all forms of gynecologic cancer, including rare or advanced types that need immediate aggressive treatment. Our multispecialty team of gynecologic oncologists and caregivers treat all our cancer patients with dignity, compassion and respect.

Your treatment strategy will depend on several factors, which include the location of your cancer and what stage it’s in. Most gynecologic cancers can be treated with surgery alone. However, a combination of treatments is most effective in many instances. Some common cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can temporarily or permanently impact your fertility. At Mercy, we use fertility-sparing treatments whenever possible. 

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy may be used as your primary method of treatment if gynecologic cancer has spread throughout the body. Medicine for this treatment can be given in pill form or delivered directly into the veins.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy refers to a group of drugs that block your body’s ability to make hormones, lower hormone levels and prevent hormones from attaching to cancer cells. 

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy uses drugs and other substances to precisely target cancer cells. Unlike chemotherapy, targeted therapy kills harmful cells while sparing your healthy surrounding tissue. 

Immunotherapy  

Immunotherapy can be used to activate your immune system to battle cancer cells more effectively. Many people who have taken immunotherapy medications have reported experiencing fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapies.

Radiation Therapy

We offer advanced radiation therapy that targets cancer directly while sparing healthy organs nearby. This technology allows us to treat your cancer faster and with fewer side effects.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery 

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that treats tumors without any surgical incision. It delivers a single high dose of radiation to an extremely precise location to minimize exposure to your surrounding healthy tissues.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy refers to various procedures that place radioactive material inside your body. It can treat a smaller area of your body with higher doses of radiation in fewer treatment sessions.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is a type of radiation therapy that kills cancer cells inside your body. It allows your care team to match radiation beams to the unique shape of your tumor.

TomoTherapy

TomoTherapy is a type of therapy used to treat gynecologic cancers where radiation is aimed at your tumor from a variety of angles. You lie on a table while a machine rotates around you in a spiral pattern emanating radiation. 

Gynecologic Cancer Surgery

Hysterectomy

There are two types of hysterectomies common in treating gynecological cancer: simple and radical. In a simple hysterectomy, your Mercy doctor will remove the uterus, but leave the tissues next to the uterus intact. In a radical hysterectomy, your Mercy doctor will remove the uterus, cervix and upper part of your vagina.  

Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery

In this procedure, a computer-assisted, robotic system allows your Mercy surgeon to operate with greater precision. The benefits include fewer complications, less estimated blood loss and a shorter hospital stay.  

Oophorectomy

An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove your ovaries. An oophorectomy is usually combined with a salpingectomy, which is a procedure to remove your fallopian tubes. 

Integrative Medicine

Mercy’s complementary and alternative medicine specialists offer integrative cancer therapies such as acupuncture and meditation to help ease the physical and emotional challenges of cancer. We’ll connect you with valuable resources, such as support groups and other cancer survivors who understand exactly what you’re going through.

Throughout your time at Mercy, you’ll find an abundance of care and support. As a faith-based health care organization, Mercy focuses on treating the body, mind and spirit of every person.

Discussions on Gynecologic Oncology

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