How to Test for and Treat Certain Types of Reproductive Cancer
Cancer stems from a harmful growth or tumor that tends to come back time and again after removal, and oftentimes goes on to negatively impact other parts of the body. For women, it is crucial to receive a pre-invasive cancer screening for certain reproductive cancers – cancer that originates in the reproductive organs of her body.
It is suggested that women receive a pre-invasive cancer screening annually. However, if a woman is experiencing any of the early-stage symptoms, she should consult one of our physicians immediately. Although each type of reproductive cancer has specific symptoms of their own, patients are advised to alert a doctor if she has any of the following signs: Uterine or vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, cervical bleeding or cervical discharge, ovarian bleeding or discharge, vulvar pain or pressure, a painful rash near the vaginal opening, bloated pelvis, pelvic pressure, or a lump in the breast. The types of reproductive cancers women could potentially have include uterine, cervical, ovarian, vaginal, vulvar and breast cancer.
While it is important to note the above symptoms, our annual pre-invasive cancer screenings are specifically designed to find cancer before symptoms occur. Our mammogram x-ray test – more commonly known as a mammography – is used to screen for breast cancer. During a mammography, images of the breast and what is inside of them can be seen, accurately detecting any early stages of breast cancer. During a routine pelvic exam, we give a pap smear-lab test of a woman’s cells. Performed yearly for every patient, the pap smear monitors changes in the cells of a female’s reproductive organs, thus detecting any early stages of cervical cancer. If either of these tests yields positive cancerous results, further steps will be discussed with the patient and taken immediately. Even though these screenings do not cover every single type of reproductive cancer, there are other, more specific tests that we could further administer if a woman is thought to have any other type of cancer – these exams range from lab tests to ultrasounds.
Similar to the symptoms and the types of tests given for each, every reproductive cancer will have a specific treatment plan. If a patient receives the news that she does, in fact, have cancer, then we at Women First Health Center will refer her to an oncologist – and discuss with her the options of treatment that are available. Reproductive cancers are often treated with chemotherapy, surgery, hormone therapy or radiation – because cancer does have the ability to recur in women, one or more treatments may be used to ensure that it is fully gone.
If you are due for your annual pre-invasive cancer screening, please contact our office – we will happily set up an appointment.