Narayana Health Cancer Institutes offers a specialist surgical service for the prevention, diagnosis, staging, treatment & care of women with gynaecological cancer. Gynaecological cancers include:
- Cervical Cancer
- Endometrial Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Vaginal Cancer
- Vulva Cancer
The department utilizes the full gamut of cutting-edge surgical techniques, from ultra-radical pelvic and abdominal surgery for ovarian cancer with minimal incision laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery for cervical and endometrial cancer. Preventive oncology is given equal importance as the department conducts regular free cancer screening camps and also uses state of art colposcopy to diagnose and treat pre-cancers as well as early cancers.
Our team of experts is made up of gynaecological cancer surgeons, medical & radiation oncologists, clinical nurse specialists, radiologists, pathologists, and physiotherapists amongst others. Women are cared for by this multi-disciplinary team who will plan their management of care and rehabilitation with them every step. Palliative care, pain management and home-based care are also provided for terminal patients.
Gynecologic cancers begin to spread within a women’s pelvis area, which is below the abdomen and in between the hip bones. Most women are affected by cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterus (endometrial) gynecological cancer. The other less common gynecologic cancers include cancer in the vulva, vagina, gestational trophoblastic tumors and fallopian tube.
Cervical cancer is cancer that occurs in the cervix cells (neck of the womb), the lower part of the woman’s womb that connects with the vagina. Cervical cancer affects women primarily aged 30 - 45 years. It rarely affects women under the age of 25 years.
Cervical cancer is caused by a strait of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. When a human body is exposed to an HPV, the immune system prevents the virus from doing damage. A small percentage of women’s bodies keep the virus for a longer time and contribute to the process of creating cancer cells.
Group of HPV viruses spreads through skin to skin sexual contact, usually clears up on its own without any treatment. Our gynecologic oncology doctors provide screening and vaccines to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer and protect you from HPV infection.
Key signs of cervical cancer
Generally, early age of cervical cancer doesn't show any symptoms or signs. It starts to show signs at an advanced stage, some women do not experience any symptoms of cervical cancer. It's very important for a woman to attend cervical symptoms screening tests appointments.
- Vaginal bleeding is the main symptom to be noticeable, it occurs after sexual intercourse. You have to take notice of any unnecessary bleeding any other time, between periods or after menopause.
- Bloody or watery vaginal discharge with a foul odor.
- Pelvic pain or discomfort during intercourse.
Only a small proportion of women are vulnerable to HPV infections, we suggest screening tests for abnormal vaginal bleeding. Narayana health care gynecologists perform a colposcopy test to examine the abnormalities of cervix cells and diagnose the cancer cells.
Ovarian cancer is a type of gynecological cancer that occurs in ovaries. Ovarian cancer can affect women of any age, but it mostly occurs in women ageing between 50-60 years. The female reproductive system has two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. They produce the eggs, estrogen, and progesterone hormones.
Many times, ovarian cancer goes undetected until it spreads within the abdomen and pelvis. Early-stage ovarian cancer can be treated successfully if it spreads only on ovarian areas. At the last stage, ovarian cancer is more strenuous to treat and is fatal.
Ovarian cancer symptoms
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- While eating quickly feels full
- Weight loss
- Discomfort in the pelvis
- Frequent urinate
- Changes in bowel habits like constipation
- Back pain
- Abnormal bleeding
- Breathing difficulty
The gynecologist specialists involve chemotherapy or surgery to treat ovarian cancer depending upon the stages of cancer.
Endometrial cancer occurs in the uterus, the uterus is a pear-shaped, and hollow pelvic organ where the fetal process takes place. Endometrial cancer or uterine cancer begins in the lining (endometrium) of the uterus cell. Uterine sarcoma cancer also begins in the uterus, but less common as compared to endometrial cancer.
Uterine cancer affects women of any age, and it’s more common among post-menopausal women. Patients diagnosed with womb cancer are 1 in 4 are post-menopausal women.
Womb cancer - symptoms
Early-stage endometrial cancer can be detected, it produces abnormal vaginal bleeding. If womb cancer is diagnosed early, oncology doctors can remove the uterus to cure cancer.
The symptoms include,
- After menopause, abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Bleeding between menstrual cycle
- Pelvic pain
- Vaginal discharge- blood stain from light to dark brown
Innovative treatment for gynecologic cancer
Depending on the kind of cancer and its spreading areas, gynecologic cancer can be treated in several ways. Narayana Health care’s gynecologic oncology surgeons do a full range of effective and innovative treatments like complex laparoscopic, fertility-sparing surgery, robotic approaches, and chemotherapy to treat women with gynecologic cancer.
Advanced laparoscopic surgery
The laparoscopic technique is a minimally invasive and effective technique to treat cancer tissues. This treatment allows patients to stay in hospitals for less period, less discomfort and recovery period is shorter compared to other treatment methods. Our gynecologic oncology experts use the laparoscopic technique efficiently to remove damaged cells in pelvic organs.
The Gynecologic doctors remove damaged cells in an operation and have an advantage in a laparoscopy method. This approach allows specialists to operate with increased accuracy and precision with less trauma to tissues surrounding cancer cells.
Intraoperative radiation therapy
This radiation therapy uses high radiation x-rays to treat cancer. This advanced technology is used to treat people who might have no other choice but to remove damaged tissues from the original tumor site. Our surgeons use high-end equipment to give high doses of radiation directly to the tumor site during surgery. Narayana health care is one of the best medical institutions to provide this treatment option in India.
This treatment method uses a special kind of medicine to shrink or remove cancer. The drugs used in this method can be pills or medicine you take regularly, given in your veins. The direct chemotherapy technique is given into the abdomen to treat ovarian cancers.
This method uses hormones to prevent the recurrence of various kinds of gynecologic cancers.
Gynecologic cancer diagnosis
To diagnose gynecologic cancer depending on the type and location of cancer the tools and tests are performed, other factors including patient’s medical history and overall health status considered. A detailed diagnosis helps experts at Narayana Health institution to come with a perfect treatment plan for each cancer patient.
The following tests will help with the diagnosis of a gynecologic cancer
- Transvaginal ultrasound: This test involves placing an ultrasound probe into the vagina to get an image of your damaged vaginal or pelvic tissues which will help a gynecologic oncologist to determine the cyst or tumor.
- Endoscopy: Using a flexible and thin tube to visualize organs of the female reproductive systems to spot cancer cells.
- Imaging studies: Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are used.
Some specialists use molecular tissue testing to determine specific tumor genes and other characteristics, giving treatment related to the testing method.
Why choose Narayana Health for Gynecologic cancer treatment?
Narayana Health care unit has gynecologic cancer specialized experts who treat all types of gynecologic cancers and subtypes of cancers through chemotherapy, intraoperative radiation therapy, medication, and surgery. Extensive support services such as genetic testing, counseling and financial assistance are also offered based on the physician’s guidance. Comprehensive support service is given to help your family focus on health and healing.
Gynaecology Oncology FAQs
All women are at risk for developing gynecologic cancer, different cancers have different signs. Every woman should be aware of some common risk factor which they can control over and increases the awareness of gynecologic cancer among women include
- Getting infected with HPV through sexual intercourse
- Frequent use of tobacco
- Long term use of birth control pills (contraceptives)
- Overweight or obese
- Lacking a proper diet
- Exposure to an estrogen (diethylstilbestrol) given during pregnancy
- HIV/AIDS infection
Ovarian gynecological cancer is a silent killer, its symptoms are vague. Women should watch these four main symptoms
- pelvic/abdominal pain
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in eating or feeling full
If you experience symptoms daily or persist more than a week, see your gynecologist. For vulvar and vaginal cancers, patients experience abnormal bleeding, or lump. Pain or non-healing ulcers during intercourse also a sign of vaginal cancers.
For cervical cancer and uterine cancers, irregular periods or post-menopausal bleeding are common among menstruating women.
A Pap test is one to diagnose cervical cancer. For ovarian cancer and uterine cancer, the diagnosis is based on symptoms, only for high-risk patients. The women with Lynch Syndrome -a hereditary condition- have a high risk for cancer, they are subject to screening tests for other cancers.
Gynecologic cancers are more complex and gynecologic oncologists undergo specialized training to plan a correct treatment from the beginning stage of cancer. Cancer patients who have consulted gynecologic oncologists have high surgical success and long-term survival rates.
Fertility is an important concern among younger generation patients. Many treatments affect fertility temporarily or permanently. Depending on the type of gynecologic cancer and its stage, there are different ways to preserve patients fertility. Consult your gynecologist oncologist before treatment begins.
A woman diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, primary peritoneal cancer should undergo genetic testing. About 15% of patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a change in mutation or change in the BRCA gene. About 3% to 5% of women with uterine cancer have Lynch Syndrome- inherited cancer syndrome.
Cancers caused by a gene mutation need a different plan of treatment, your health care unit asks your relatives blood samples and their cancer history to treat you. Some family members have to undergo genetic testing for genetic counseling.
Women must see a gynaecologic oncologist if their general gynaecologist has diagnosed the possibility of precancerous cells. Besides, they also need to visit a gynaecologic oncologist if they have been diagnosed with the following cancers or conditions.
- Ovarian cancer
- Cervical cancer and cervical dysplasia
- Endometrial (uterine) cancer
- Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia
- Vaginal or vulvar cancer and vulva dysplasia
- Fallopian tube removal
Any cancer starting in a womans reproductive organs are called gynaecologic cancers. There are five major types of cancer that can affect a womans reproductive organs – cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Fallopian tube cancer is another type of gynaecologic cancer that occurs rarely.
These cancers begin in different places within a womans pelvis, the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones. Each gynaecologic cancer is different and has different symptoms, risk factors and prevention strategies. The risk of developing gynaecologic cancer increases with age, and the treatment can be effective when the cancer is detected early.
- HPV vaccine: The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to some gynaecological cancers. The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers.
- Screening tests: Screening tests are done to look for a disease before they produce any symptoms. When the disease is found early, more effective treatment can be planned.
- PAP test: PAP test is a screening test for only cervical cancer. It can help find precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might lead cervical cancer if left untreated.
- HPV test: This test is used to identify HPV infection. It is usually used for screening women aged thirty years and older.
- Pay attention to warning signs: Screening for gynaecological cancers can be difficult as there are no simple and reliable ways to do it except for cervical cancer. Hence, it is important to recognise the warning signs and learn about things that you can do to reduce the risks.
Gynaecological surgeons can offer a range of treatment options for managing cancer and its symptoms.
- Advanced laparoscopic surgery: This is a minimally invasive technique that is done with the help of a thin tube called a laparoscope and small incisions.
- Robotic surgery: Like laparoscopic surgery, this approach offers less discomfort and shorter recovery periods as well. In addition, with the help of surgery, the surgeon can operate with better precision and accuracy without affecting the surrounding healthy tissues.
- Intraoperative radiation therapy or IORT: The IORT is a radiation technique used to treat advanced cancers that are localized but have spread from the original tumour site. During IORT, a high dose of radiation is given directly to the cancer site to destroy the cancer cells.
- Intraperitoneal chemotherapy: In this technique, chemotherapy drugs are delivered into the abdomen for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Intraperitoneal chemotherapy provides a better survival advantage in comparison to intravenous chemotherapy alone.