Gynecologic oncology is a medical specialty that is dedicated to treating cancers of the female reproductive system, such as endometrial, ovarian, cervical, and vulvar cancers. Gynecologic oncologists are surgeons who specialize in obstetric and gynecologic care and complete training in surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other critical treatments for gynecologic cancer.
Some gynecologic cancers can be detected through routine gynecologic screenings such as pelvic exams and pap smears, where cervix cells are collected and studied by pathologists for a possible diagnosis. Other cancers may be diagnosed through radiological imaging, such as intravenous pyelogram (IVP), pelvic X-rays with contrast dye, CAT scans, or ultrasounds. Gynecologic oncologists may request patients' complete blood tests or the CA 125 assay test, which measures cancer proteins in the blood. Gynecologic oncologists also can collect biopsies (tissue samples) by removing small sections of the reproductive organs for examination. Procedures to treat gynecologic cancers may include:
Gynecologic oncologists can also prescribe fertility-preserving surgeries for patients with cancer who wish to have children after treatment. Gynecologic oncologists can collaborate with oncologists, gynecologic pathologists, women's health specialists, urogynecologists, and gynecologic surgeons.