Counties Manukau Health Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Gynaecological cancer refers to cancer anywhere in a woman’s reproductive system or genital area. Cancers occur when the cells divide and grow in an uncontrolled way forming a lump, growth or tumour. Usually the cause of the cancer is unknown. There are a number of different treatments for gynaecological cancer and the doctor and specialist will work out which is best for each individual woman. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy.
The most common symptom associated with ovarian cancer is abdominal pain and distension. In most cases the cancer is found when a doctor feels a lump in the abdomen when doing an internal (vaginal) examination.
The endometrium is the lining of the uterus (womb). When a cancerous tumour grows in the endometrium the most common symptom is bleeding. This type of cancer is a lot more common in older women, after they have gone through menopause. Any bleeding after the menopause requires investigation by a doctor. This is more common in the obese and diabetic patients.
Cancer of the Vulva
The vulva is the area of the genitalia outside a woman’s body. Cancer of this region is very rare. The most common symptoms are bleeding, itching or a burning feeling in the vulval area. Any lump or ulcer which occurs needs to be seen by a doctor.
The cervix is at the entrance to the uterus (womb). Typical signs of cervical cancer include bleeding between periods and after sexual intercourse. In most cases the cancer can be diagnosed by a vaginal examination. Developing this condition is far less likely if regular Pap smears occur as the disease is detected before it becomes cancerous.