Gynecologic Cancer Program

NHCI’s Gynecologic Cancer Program ranks among the top community programs in the country

A Trusted Team of Gynecologic Oncology Specialists

All of our gynecologic cancer specialists at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute work as a part of a multidisciplinary team dedicated to your well-being. Together, we ensure that our cancer care team provides a powerful support system for you and your loved ones.

Your primary care physician may team up with one of our gynecologic oncology specialists, as well as our medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists and radiologists. You’ll also have access to:

  • Nurse navigators can help you through the treatment process.
  • Dietitians for health and nutrition expertise.
  • Rehabilitation specialists to help you maintain strength and energy for daily activities.
  • Genetic counselors who can help you navigate concerns about a family history of cancer.
  • Research nurses (when applicable) to help you better understand your cancer.
  • Social workers you can lean on for social, emotional and spiritual support.

More About Gynecologic Oncology

Gynecologic oncology involves cancers that begin in a woman’s reproductive organs. Northside has the expertise needed to treat every type of gynecologic cancer, including: 

  • Cervical cancer: Cervical cancer used to be among the most common causes of cancer-related death for American women. Now, due to use of the Pap test to screen for cervical cancer, the number of deaths has significantly declined.
  • Ovarian cancer: Ovarian cancer can happen at any age but is most frequently diagnosed in women between 55-64 years of age.
  • Endometrial / Uterine cancer: Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer and most often occurs in post-menopausal women.
  • Vaginal cancer: Vaginal cancer is a rare type of cancer that starts in the vagina. There are many different types of vaginal cancer, but the most common is called squamous cell carcinoma, which starts in the lining of the vagina. 
  • Vulvar cancer: Most cancers of the vulva are squamous cell carcinomas. This type of cancer starts in squamous cells, the main type of skin cells. 

Gynecologic Cancer Symptoms 

Each type of gynecological cancer has its own signs and symptoms. That’s why it’s essential to talk to your OB/GYN if you have concerns. But here are a few symptoms to be aware of:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Pain, pressure, bloating or discomfort in your pelvis or abdomen.
  • A mass or lump, skin thickening, discolored area, or open sore.
  • Lack of appetite or feeling full quickly.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Itching, burning or pain in the skin around the genitals.
  • Changes in bowel or bathroom habits (e.g., constipation, diarrhea, feeling like you need to urinate more than normal, or blood in your urine).

Gynecologic Cancer Risk Factors 

Each type of gynecologic cancer has its own particular risk factors, but every female should be aware of general gynecologic cancer risk factors that may include:

  • Age: The risk for most gynecologic cancers increases with age, especially after menopause.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection: HPV plays a role in gynecological cancers, but there is a vaccine to protect against HPV.  
  • No pregnancies: The risk for some gynecological cancers goes down for women who have been pregnant. 
  • Family history: Having family members who have had gynecologic cancers may increase risk. 

Gynecologic Cancer Diagnosis at Northside Hospital

A regularly scheduled gynecology exam is a preventive measure to try to detect cancer early before people have symptoms.

The screening test for cervical cancer is called the Pap smear or Pap test. To help diagnose cervical cancer early, we recommend that women regularly see their primary care physician or OB/GYN doctor for a pelvic exam and Pap test.  

Other tests will be used if your doctor suspects that you might have cervical cancer or another type of gynecologic cancer. These might include:

  • Imaging tests: Options include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans. 
  • Transvaginal ultrasound: An ultrasound picture is taken from inside the vagina.
  • Endoscopy: Doctors use a thin tube equipped with a tiny light and camera to see inside the body.
  • Biopsy: This is when doctors take out a small piece of tissue or fluid. They then test it in a lab to see if it contains any cancer cells. 
  • Blood test: A lab test called the CA-125 blood test may be used to help diagnose ovarian cancer.

Gynecologic Cancer Treatments at Northside Hospital

Northside Hospital’s Gynecologic Cancer Program offers a wide variety of treatment options for all types of gynecologic cancer. Your gynecologic oncologist will design a treatment plan based on the type and extent of your cancer while keeping in mind the needs and goals of you and your family. 

Surgery is a common treatment for many gynecologic cancers. In addition, doctors may advise radiation therapychemotherapy and/or hormone therapy.  

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is also on the leading edge of cancer research. In fact, our Research Program represents one of the largest community-based oncology/hematology programs in the U.S. Women who choose to enroll in a gynecologic oncology clinical trial may benefit both from expert care and the knowledge that they are helping scientists discover better ways to prevent and fight cancer. 

Here for You: Gynecologic Oncology Support & Survivorship 

A diagnosis of gynecologic cancer may impact many areas of your life, including your sexual health or fertility. Our supportive resources and caring providers make us genuinely different because we provide complete care for body and mind, always with your well-being and personal needs as our top priority. 

Our specially trained cancer nurse navigators help guide you along your cancer care pathway. They work alongside the entire care team to coordinate your care, educate you about your treatment plan and help you get the right support from Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s practical, spiritual, emotional, financial and physical support and survivorship resources.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ALL OF OUR NHCI SUPPORT & SURVIVORSHIP SERVICES