Gynaecological cancers include cancers of the female genital tract. They are cancers of the ovary, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva. Traditionally Cervical cancer is considered the most common cancer in females; however recent trends show a rise in cancers of the uterus. Presenting features vary based on the type of cancer. Ovarian cancers usually present with a mass in the abdomen, sometimes bloating of the abdomen due to fluid collection (ascites). Uterine, cervical and vaginal cancers usually present with bleeding post menopause, foul smell or discharge from the vagina, abnormal bleeding during menstrual cycles or bleeding during intercourse. They may also present with lower abdominal pain or cramps. Vulval cancers can present with ulceration in the perineal region or sometimes as separate swellings in the groin area.
Treatment of these cancers consists of mostly surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation based on the type of cancer. Surgery usually includes a radical hysterectomy (Warthiems Surgery) for cancers of the ovary, uterus and cervix. Vulvar cancers are usually treated with a Radical Vulvectomy and a Groin Dissection. Recent advances such Hyperthermic Intra-Peritoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) and Cytoreductive surgery have improved outcomes in even advanced cases of ovarian cancers. There are cases where limited surgery may be beneficial in early Ovarian cancers where the uterus can be preserved allowing for child birth in selected cases.
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