Get Checked. Your Life May Depend On It.
Your age, family history, and lifestyle all play a role in your risk for gynecologic cancer. At North Houston Gynecologic Oncology Surgeons in Shenandoah, Texas, Nefertiti duPont, MD, MPH, a gynecologic oncologist, offers comprehensive care for ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, vaginal cancer, and other types of cancer. Dr. duPont offers diagnostic testing and customized treatments, including minimally invasive surgery, to prevent the spread of cancer and preserve your reproductive health.
Find out more about the available gynecologic cancer services by calling North Houston Gynecologic Oncology Surgeons or by booking an appointment online today.
What is gynecologic cancer?
- Gynecologic cancer is any type of cancer that starts in the female reproductive system. These cancers are named for the area where the cancer begins and include:
- Ovarian cancer: Ovarian cancer starts in the ovaries, structures that sit on either side of your uterus and are responsible for releasing eggs for fertilization and for making hormones.
- Cervical cancer: Cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the structure at the end of your uterus that forms a canal between your uterus and vagina.
- Uterine cancer: Uterine cancer starts in your uterus, the pear-shaped organ where a baby develops during pregnancy.
- Vaginal cancer: Vaginal cancer begins in the tissue of the vagina, the hollow channel between the outside of your body and the bottom of your uterus.
- Vulvar cancer: Vulvar cancer starts in the vulva, an external part of the female genitalia that also includes the inner (labia minora) and outer (labia majora) lips, clitoris, and perineum (the tissue between the vulva and anus).
- Endometrial cancer: Endometrial cancer begins in the endometrium, the lining of your uterus.
- Fallopian tube cancer: Fallopian tube cancer starts in the tubes that connect your ovaries to your uterus. These tubes allow eggs to travel through for fertilization.
- Primary peritoneal cancer: Primary peritoneal cancer is a rare type of cancer that develops in the protective tissue that covers the abdominal organs.
How are gynecologic cancers diagnosed?
Diagnosing symptoms that may relate to gynecologic cancers may involve one or more tests at North Houston Gynecologic Oncology Surgeons to confirm or rule out cancer. You should schedule a diagnostic evaluation if you have unexplained symptoms like:
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal pain
- Vaginal bleeding
- Vaginal itching or burning
- Difficulties urinating
Dr. duPont offers several on-site diagnostic tests to determine if cancer is the root cause of your symptoms. After reviewing your symptoms and your personal and family medical history, she performs a physical exam to determine if you need further diagnostic testing.
Testing for gynecological cancers may include:
- Pap smear: A Pap smear is a procedure to collect a sample of cervical cells for further evaluation to identify precancerous or cancerous cell changes in the cervix.
- Colposcopy: A colposcopy is an office-based procedure that uses a special magnified scope and a bright light to identify abnormal cells in your vagina, vulva, and cervix that may indicate cancer.
- Minimally invasive surgery: In some cases, Dr. duPont may need to perform minimally invasive surgery to find cancerous cells or masses in your reproductive organs. This type of surgery requires only small incisions to access and evaluate your internal reproductive organs. She may use a general laparoscopic approach or utilize robotic surgery, depending on the procedure.
How are gynecologic cancers treated?
Your treatment plan for gynecologic cancers depends on the type of cancer you have and how far advanced. Dr. duPont customizes treatment to your needs and may recommend one or more therapies like:
- Radiation: Radiation uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves the use of special medications to shrink cancerous cells or destroy them. The medications may be oral, or you may need to receive them intravenously to kill cancer cells.
- Surgery: Minimally invasive and robotic surgery techniques may be necessary to remove cancerous tissue or tumors. In some cases, surgery is the only treatment needed for cancer, but you may also require radiation or chemotherapy following surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
If you need treatment for gynecological cancer, schedule a consultation online or by calling North Houston Gynecologic Oncology Surgeons today.