Types of women’s cancers we screen for
Our team specializes in screening for and diagnosing all types of female cancers. These cancers include:
Female cancers usually cause no symptoms or show vague symptoms until the cancer has progressed to an advanced stage. Many times, women mistake them for symptoms of a digestive problem or another gynecological condition.
This makes screening tests especially important. The earlier we detect cancer, the more easily we can treat it -- and the more easily you can recover.
How we screen for gynecological cancer
We perform four basic screenings during an annual gynecological exam:
- Medical history: Some female cancers are caused by damage from sexually transmitted infections, such as the human papillomavirus (HPV). Your doctor will ask about your family, pregnancy, and sexual histories when screening for female cancer. Be open and honest with your doctor. We aren’t here to judge you -- we’re here to detect and treat women’s cancers.
- Physical exam: The doctor may press on your abdomen (to feel for lumps on the uterus and ovaries), breasts, and glands throughout the body.
- Pelvic exam: The doctor examines the outside (vulva) and inside (vagina and cervix) of your genitals to check for lumps, lesions, sores, or suspicious growths that may signal cancer.
- Pap test: During the pelvic exam, the doctor will gently scrape a few cells from your cervix. The doctor will review these cells under a microscope and look for abnormalities that could signal cancer. The Pap test is the first line of defense against cervical cancer.
You don’t need a Pap test every year. Recommended frequency varies by age and personal and family history, so ask your doctor what is appropriate for you.
Some women and their female family members also may benefit from genetic testing for certain cancers that run in the family. Ask the doctor if this is appropriate for you.
How we diagnose women’s cancers
Once the doctor determines you have a female cancer, the next step is to stage it. Staging helps your cancer care team determine the least invasive but most effective treatment for your cancer.
All women’s cancers are staged differently. This is a general overview of how we stage female cancer:
- Stage I: Cancer is in the female organ only
- Stage II: Cancer has spread to the outside the female organ or into nearby tissue
- Stage III: Cancer has spread to nearby non-reproductive organs
- Stage IV - Cancer has spread to farther areas of the body, such as the lungs, liver, or bones
Once the cancer stage is determined, your care team will work with you to create a treatment plan. Our oncologists, pathologists, surgeons, nurses, and genetic counselors will work together to make sure your plan is safe and effective.