Stamford Health’s gynecologic cancer specialists serve on the faculty of the Yale School of Medicine. They collaborate with your doctor as well as Stamford Health specialists in genetics, medical oncology, radiology, pathology, and radiation oncology to provide the best care for you. If you're concerned you're at risk for gynecologic cancer or have symptoms that could be a sign of gynecologic cancer, the first step would be to have a discussion with your OB-GYN or primary care provider.
Common Gynecologic Cancers
- Ovarian cancer: a serious cancer that originates in the ovaries. It may not cause obvious symptoms in the early stages although some women with ovarian cancer report gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal bloating, feeling full when eating, or constipation.
- Endometrial cancer: a relatively common cancer that starts in the lining of the uterus and often presents with vaginal bleeding. It is more likely in a woman considered overweight or obese and is increasing due to rising obesity rates.
- Cervical cancer: cancer of the cervix, which is almost always caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Cervical cancer is highly preventable through HPV vaccination and routine cervical cancer screening with pap smears.
You can reduce your risk of developing certain gynecological cancers by having routine screening exams. Stay up to date with your pap screenings and talk to your provider about your lifestyle and ways in which you can reduce your risk. A small percentage of gynecological cancers are caused by genetic changes and some of these run in families. To schedule genetic counseling and meet with one of our board-certified geneticists, please call us at 203.276.2030.
Meet Our Team
Our Team Approach to Gynecologic Oncology Includes:
- A dedicated nurse navigator to help you with resources, appointments, and education.
- Supportive programs including rehabilitative services such as pelvic floor physical therapy and more.
- Ongoing emotional support through our Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Program.
Gynecologic Oncology FAQs
What are the most common gynecologic cancers?Gynecologic oncology describes cancers of the female reproductive organs. The most common gynecologic cancers are: endometrial, ovarian, and cervical.
What is endometrial cancer and what should I know about it?
Endometrial cancer is cancer of the endometrium, which is the lining of the uterus.
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer:
The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. For younger women, there are many non-cancerous reasons for irregular vaginal bleeding. But for post-menopausal women, it is important to see your doctor right away if you have irregular vaginal bleeding, spotting, or discharge.
Risk Factors for endometrial cancer:
Obesity is the most common risk factor for endometrial cancer. The rising rates of obesity in the United States are contributing to rising rates of endometrial cancer.
How can I lower my risk of developing endometrial cancer?
Getting to a healthy weight is a valuable way to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. It is important for post-menopausal women to see their doctor right away if they experience vaginal bleeding or spotting.
How is endometrial cancer diagnosed?
A gynecologist can do a procedure called an endometrial biopsy to obtain a piece of endometrial tissue. The doctor inserts a small plastic pipelle through the cervix to obtain the tissue. It is an office-based procedure that is done like a pap smear. The endometrial tissue is examined by a pathologist to determine if it is cancerous.
How is endometrial cancer treated?
Most endometrial cancers can be cured by undergoing a hysterectomy, which is a surgery to remove the uterus.
What is ovarian cancer and what should I know about it?
Ovarian cancer is cancer of the ovary, which can start in the ovary or the fallopian tube.
Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer:
The most common symptom of ovarian cancer are often non-specific gastrointestinal complaints, such as bloating or fullness.
Risk factors for ovarian cancer:
The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age, with half of all ovarian cancers diagnosed in women who are 63 or older. Using oral contraception earlier in life is protective against ovarian cancer. The longer an individual takes the birth control pill, the lower the risk of developing ovarian cancer. A small number of individuals in high-risk families may have inherited a genetic change that increases their risk of ovarian cancer.
How is ovarian cancer diagnosed?
Ultrasound is a useful test to visualize the ovaries and see if there is a mass or tumor in one or both of the ovaries. Laparoscopy can be performed to remove the ovaries and look at the tissue under a microscope to see if a cancer is present.
How is ovarian cancer treated?
Surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries is recommended, followed by chemotherapy.
What is cervical cancer and what should I know about it?
Cervical cancer is cancer of the cells lining the cervix.
Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer:
Cervical cancer does not usually present with symptoms in the early stages. Because there are often no symptoms, it is important to have a human papillomavirus (HPV) test and a pap smear when you see your OB-GYN for your yearly exam.
Risk factors for cervical cancer:
Infection with HPV is the most common contributor to cervical cancer. Smoking also increases the risk of cervical cancer.
How can I lower my risk of developing cervical cancer? Vaccination against HPV is recommended for all young people between ages 9 and 12. HPV testing and pap smears are recommended for all individuals with a uterus to assess if they have HPV infection or pre-cancerous changes on their cervix. Pre-cancerous changes can be treated before they progress to cancer. All individuals are advised to quit smoking.
How is cervical cancer diagnosed?
If your HPV test is positive and/or you have abnormal cells on your pap smear, a colposcopy can be performed by your OB-GYN. A colposcope allows your doctor to examine the cervix with a magnified view and take targeted biopsies. The biopsies are examined under a microscope to see if a cancer is present.
How is cervical cancer treated?
Pre-cancerous changes on the cervix can be treated with freezing. If more treatment is required, your doctor may recommend a cone biopsy or a loop electrosurgical excision procedure, often referred to as a LEEP. If cervical cancer is diagnosed, specialty care by a gynecologic oncologist is required.
How do I schedule an appointment with a gynecologic oncologist?Call us at 203.276.2030 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Andikyan and Dr. Clark.
(203) 276-2030Gynecologic Oncology