Gynecologic oncology in South Denver
At Sky Ridge Medical Center, we are committed to providing the highest quality of care and compassion for women with cancer of the pelvic reproductive system. As part of our comprehensive women’s surgical services program, we have fellowship-trained gynecological oncology surgeons on staff.
At our Cancer Center, our team will first help you understand your diagnosis and disease and then work with you to create a personalized treatment plan using the most advanced therapies available, all in a compassionate, healing environment close to your home.
Choose Sky Ridge Medical Center for gynecologic cancer care because we offer:
- Multidisciplinary, team approach to care
- Fellowship-trained GYN oncologists
- Minimally invasive surgery techniques
- Cancer Resource Center for support and education
- Cancer registry for lifetime follow up
- Infusion services for chemotherapy treatment
- On-site radiation oncology services
- Weekly cancer case conference for medical teams
- Access to clinical research trials
Our gynecologic oncologists discuss advancements made in treating cancers that affect women
Types of gynecologic cancer we treat
Our highly trained team is experienced in treating:
- Endometrial cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Vulvar cancer
Endometrial cancer, also sometimes referred to as uterine cancer, is a type of cancer that targets the uterus, the pear-shaped pelvic organ that is responsible for fetal development. Endometrial cancer begins in the endometrium in the layer of cells that form the lining of the uterus.Symptoms of uterine cancer
Signs and symptoms of endometrial cancer can include:
- Bleeding between periods
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Pelvic pain
- A watery, blood-tinged discharge from your vagina
The following risk factors can increase your chances of developing endometrial cancer:
- Hormone imbalance
- Starting menstruation before the age of 12
- Older age
- Never having been pregnant
- An inherited colon cancer syndrome
- Hormone therapy for breast cancer
Cervical cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus, and it connects the uterus with the vagina.
Cervical cancer tends to occur in midlife. Most cases are found in women younger than 50, and it rarely develops in women younger than 20. Many older women do not realize that the risk of developing cervical cancer is still present as they age. More than 15 percent of cases of cervical cancer are found in women over 65.
According to the American Cancer Society, cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. But over the last 40 years, cervical cancer deaths have gone down by more than 50 percent. The main reason for this change is the increased use of the Pap test.
Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented entirely, by having regular Pap tests. When detected early, it is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer
Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms. Symptoms often do not begin until the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissue. When this happens, the most common symptoms are:
- Bleeding between regular menstrual periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse, douching or a pelvic exam
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer and is heavier than usual
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Increased vaginal discharge that is not blood
- Pain during sex
- There may also be pelvic discomfort or a backache
Cervical cancer is more common in women over 25 years old. Other factors that may increase your chance of cervical cancer include:
- HPV infection—the main risk factor for cervical cancer
- Having a weakened immune system
- Chlamydia infection
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Being overweight
- Long-term use of hormonal contraceptives Intrauterine device (IUD) use
- Having multiple full-term pregnancies
- Being younger than 17 at your first full-term pregnancy
- Daughter of a mother who took the drug diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy
- Family history of cervical cancer
Ovarian cancer is the development of malignant cells in one or both ovaries. The cancer can start anywhere in the ovarian tissue, but the most common place is in the epithelial cells that cover the ovary.
Ovarian cancer can spread directly to nearby structures in the abdominal cavity. The cancer can also spread to adjacent lymph nodes or blood vessels, which can carry cancer cells to other areas of the body. The most common sites for ovarian cancer to spread outside of the abdomen are to lymph nodes in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver and bones.Symptoms of ovarian cancer
Symptoms usually do not appear until ovarian cancer is in advanced stages. The most common symptoms include:
- Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or frequent urination
- Gas, indigestion, pressure, swelling, bloating or cramps
- Abdominal discomfort or pain
- Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss
- Difficulty breathing from fluid build-up in the lungs
- Pain or sensation of a mass in the abdomen or lymph nodes near the collarbone, under the arm or groin
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Feeling of fullness even after only a light meal
- Increase in abdominal girth from fluid build-up (ascites)
While ovarian cancer is more common in women over 60 years old, it can occur in younger women as well. Ovarian cancer in women under 40 years is rare. The risk increases with age as women approach or complete menopause.
Other factors that may increase the chance of ovarian cancer include:
- Menopause started later than normal
- Menopause started before the age of 12 Having never been pregnant
- History of breast, uterine, colon or rectal cancers
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Use of postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Vulvar cancer is an extremely rare form of cancer that affects the outside of the vagina. It usually affects older women and is most commonly caused by smoking or exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV). The most obvious symptom of vulvar cancer is a sore or lump on the vulva that causes itching.
Treatment for gynecologic cancer
Our team of experts will take into account the type of cancer, its stage and other factors, including family history, when developing the best plan of treatment for you. With patient care being our top priority, we focus on finding the most effective yet minimally invasive option for each patient.
Typically, treatment for gynecologic cancer includes one or more of the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Hormonal therapy
- Surgery, including robotic surgery
Gynecologic cancer nurse navigator
Our gynecologic cancer nurse navigator provides individualized care coordination throughout each phase of our cancer patients’ care plans. We provide the education and support our gynecologic cancer patients and their families need to make informed decisions about their diagnosis and treatment.
Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute
As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides you with convenient access to leading-edge cancer therapies and clinical trials. Through our Sarah Cannon oncology programs, we offer patients personal, individualized care with a trusted network of specialists who address every aspect of cancer care.
Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Sky Ridge Medical Center is pleased to offer access to askSARAH, a dedicated helpline designed to help answer your cancer-related questions. Whether you have been recently diagnosed with cancer or have questions about screenings, signs or symptoms, a specially trained askSARAH nurse can help. Committed to ensuring you have the right resources close to home, our nurses are available 24/7 and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (303) 253-3225 or fill out the askSARAH contact form to connect directly to a nurse who can help you today.