Gynaecological Cancer Management

Gynaecological cancer is the umbrella term for cancers that develop in the female reproductive system, specifically the ovaries, cervix and uterus. As with all cancers, the key to a better chance of survival lies in early detection. In terms of gynaecological cancer management, routine screening is the most effective way to discover cancerous and pre-cancerous cells at their earliest stage — even before symptoms appear and when they are most treatable.

What Causes Cancer in Women?

Cancer begins when a mutation develops in a cell or a group of cells. These abnormal cells then grow and multiply at a much rapid pace than normal cells, and eventually form a tumor and spread to other tissues and organs if left untreated.

Factors that increase the risk of gynaecological cancer include:

  • Age – Gynaecological cancers most commonly afflict women who are in their 50s to 60s.
  • Genetics – Certain gene mutations or a family history of a particular cancer, will put one at a higher risk.
  • History of gynaecological cancer – This will lead to a risk of recurrence.
  • Human papillomavirus – HPV infection is the greatest risk factor that leads to cervical cancer.

Those with a weak immune system also have a higher risk of developing gynaecological cancers.

Cancer Screening Tests

Prevention through routine screenings is the best form of gynaecological cancer management. Common tests include:

  • Pelvic exam – Apart from palpation (pressing on the area to feel for abnormal growths), this is also commonly done through a pelvic ultrasound scan.
  • Pap smear – Cells from the cervix are taken and examined in a lab to check for the presence of cancerous or pre-cancerous characteristics.
  • HPV DNA test – Cervical cells are also checked for HPV infections, which are main precursors to cervical cancer.
  • Mammogram – X-ray images of the breasts are taken to detect tumors, especially those that can’t easily be felt.
  • Transvaginal ultrasound – Sound waves are used to capture images of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • Blood test – As many women with ovarian cancer are found to have high levels of CA-125 protein, this test can help determine one’s risk of ovarian cancer.
  • Genetic testing – Such tests help determine your risk of developing cancer through an inherited gene mutation (BRCA1/BRCA2).

Dr Ann Tan offers comprehensive screening services not only for gynaecological cancers, but for other women’s health conditions such as uterine fibroids,ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory diseases and infertility. Call +65 6734 8188 to learn more about our screening packages.

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