Cancer Diagnosis FAQs

With any new diagnosis, you are sure to have many quesitons. The information below is intended to give you a brief overview and provide helpful information about gynecologic cancers.  This information is generalized and may not necessarily apply to your care or specific diagnosis. 

Expand all

What are gynecologic cancers?

Gynecologic cancers are characterized as malignant cells that multiply and/or overgrow in, on, or around the female reproductive organs. This includes the vulva (vulvar cancer), cervix (cervical cancer), ovaries/fallopian tubes (ovarian cancer), and/or the endometrial lining in the uterus (endometrial cancer). The most commonly diagnosed form of gynecologic cancer is endometrial or uterine cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Not every cancer journey will be the same as the next.  Your symptoms may be similar or vary from another diagnosed individual's.  Below are some general signs or symptoms many women experience within the specific cancer types.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor.  
Cervical Cancer:
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding: bleeding after vaginal intercourse, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and menstrual periods that last longer or are heavier than usual
  • Abnormal discharge from the vagina
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer:
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abnormal watery or blood tinged vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause
Ovarian Cancer:
  • Bloating
  • Changes in bathroom habits, more frequent uringation and/or constipation
  • Pelvic or abnormal pain
  • Feeling full quickly or difficult eating
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Menstrual changes
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
Vulvar Cancer:
  • An area on the vulva that looks or feels different from the normal skin surrounding it
  • Bleeding or discharge not related to the normal menstrual cycle
  • An open sore, lump, or bump (especially if it lasts for a month or more)
  • Persistent itching, burning and/or pain

Types of Treatments

Gynecologic oncologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat cancers of the female reproductive system. Treatment depends on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Women diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer may get more than one kind of treatment.

  • Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
  • Chemotherapy/Biotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
  • Radiation: Using high-energy rays to kill the cancer.

Clinical Trials

Advances in the treatment of gynecologic cancers have been established based on the outcome of clinical trials. A clinical trial is a research study where people volunteer to participate in testing new drugs or procedures. These studies are imperative to improving the safety and effectiveness of new cancer treatments. Clinical trials available at MHealth gynecologic oncology clinic are listed here.