Personalized Care, Advanced Treatment
Catholic Health Services specializes in personalized gynecologic oncology treatment to help patients make the best choices for the best possible outcomes.
Call (844) 86-CANCER (844-862-2623) to find a cancer specialist near you.
What is Gynecologic Oncology?
Gynecologic oncology, a sub-specialty of obstetrics and gynecology, focuses on the treatment of precancerous and cancer conditions of the female reproductive system.
There are five major types of gynecologic cancers. Knowing the symptoms, keeping up with exams and screenings, and expressing any concerns to your physician help with early detection and successful treatment upon diagnosis.
Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. It is the fifth most common cause of cancer-related death in women. Approximately 1 in 70 women will get ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose in early stages because the symptoms are vague and difficult to pinpoint. Women should be aware of these symptoms and inform their physicians of any ongoing concerns.
Persistent bloating or feeling full without eating a big meal are the most common symptoms. Additional symptoms include:
- Fatigue or extreme tiredness
- Upset stomach like nausea, bloating, fullness, pressure
- Back pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Constipation, especially if it's new
- Changes in a menstrual period like heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal (belly) swelling with weight loss
Ovarian cancer can't be predicted. Most diagnosed women are not considered high risk. Several factors can increase a woman’s risk for ovarian cancer, including:
- Age: middle aged or older
- Family history of breast, ovarian, colon, prostate cancer on either the mother's or father’s side
- Carrying an inherited mutation in a cancer prevention gene like BRCA1/2, RAD51, genes associated with Lynch Syndrome (in families with colon, uterine or ovarian cancers)
- Personal history of breast, uterine or colon cancer
- Never having given birth or history of infertility
- Past history of endometriosis
No effective screening test exists for ovarian cancer. An annual pelvic exam with a gynecologist, starting as young as ages 18 to 20, are critically important. Abnormal findings require consultation with a gynecologic oncologist.
Cervical cancer is most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 35 and 44. The average age is 50.
Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms. Symptoms often do not begin until the cancer becomes larger and grows into nearby tissue, including:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Unusual discharge from the vagina
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the pelvic region
Early detection, through screening tests including HPV and Pap tests, improve the likelihood of successful treatment upon diagnosis.
Cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. It mainly affects post-menopausal women.
- Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting, or other discharge
- Pelvic pain
A gynecologic oncologist will review treatment options upon diagnosis.
While vaginal cancer is rare, it is still important to know the symptoms and consult with your gynecologic oncologist if concerned.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding (often after intercourse)
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- A mass or lump in the vagina that can be felt
- Pain during intercourse
In the U.S., women have a 1 in 333 chance of developing vulvar cancer at some point during their life.
Symptoms vary depending on the kind of vulvar cancer but can include:
- Pain or Burning
- Bleeding or discharge not related to a normal menstrual period
Why Choose CHS?
CHS Cancer Institutes throughout Long Island provide the comfort of cancer care close to home. All are accredited by the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.
CHS's gynecology oncologists provide comprehensive care from diagnosis to treatment to surgery. They will determine the best course of treatment for precancerous cells, cancer cells or tumors.
They are highly skilled in identification of the precise stage and type of cancer, which is critical to creating customized treatment plans for patients.
Pankaj K. Singhal, MD, MS, MHCM, FACOG, is system chairman of obstetrics and gynecology/women's health initiatives for Catholic Health Services and chief of gynecologic oncology for Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. He is a Surgical Review Corporation-accredited Surgeon of Excellence with Good Samaritan's Center of Excellence designations in Robotic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Gynecology. He has cared for thousands of patients with gynecologic issues since joining CHS in 2016.
CHS offers non-surgical and surgical options. Specialized multidisciplinary teams are trained in surgical
robotics, laparoscopy and traditional surgery procedures.
Minimally invasive procedures benefit the patient:
- Less blood loss
- Less pain
- Quicker recovery
- Reduced risk for complications
- Smaller incisions