All About Gynecologic Cancer

Gynecologic cancer facts:

  • Gynecologic cancer affects many women, with about 80,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. About half of those cases are uterine cancer.
  • Ovarian cancer, with more than 22,000 new cases estimated per year, is the second most common gynecologic cancer, and it accounts for more than 16,000 deaths annually.
  • Gynecologic cancer is a serious disease, but in the majority of cases it can be treated and cured.

Gynecologic cancer is the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells originating in the female reproductive organs - including the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. Gynecologic cancer may be treated by specialized surgical procedures, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. A board-certified gynecologic oncologist is trained to function as the patient's primary care oncologist during the diagnostic, treatment and follow-up phases of her care.

Like other parts of the body, the organs of the reproductive system are made up of many types of cells. Cells divide in an orderly, controlled way to produce more cells when they are needed in the body. When cells divide in an abnormal, uncontrolled way, they can form a tumor that may be either benign or malignant.

Benign tumors are not cancerous. They can usually be removed and, in most cases, they do not come back. Most important, cells from benign tumors do not invade nearby tissues and do not spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumors are rarely life threatening. In women under age 30, most ovarian growths are benign, fluid-filled sacs called cysts.

Malignant tumors are cancerous. Cancer cells can invade and damage tissues and organs near the tumor. Also, cancer cells can break away from a malignant tumor in the reproductive sytem and spread to other organs in the abdomen and form new tumors. The cancer cells also can enter the lymphatic system or the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body.

Please use the following links to access comprehensive gynecologic cancer information provided by the National Cancer Institute from its PDQ® Database.

Learn more about cervical cancer...

Learn more about endometrial cancer...

Learn more about gestational trophoblastic tumors...

Learn more about ovarian epithelial cancer...

Learn more about ovarian germ cell tumors...

Learn more about ovarian low malignant potential tumors...

Learn more about uterine sarcoma...

Learn more about vaginal cancer...

Learn more about vulvar cancer...

 

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The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 300 W. 10th Ave. Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu