Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Gynecologic Oncology

List of Articles

  • Breast Cancer Surgical Treatment Complications & Lymphedema
    Complications after any operation can be minimized with thorough preoperative evaluation, meticulous technique, hemostasis, and wound closure. In addition to the standard oncologic evaluation, preoperative evaluation includes assessment of the patient's overall physiologic condition, with particular emphasis on tolerability of anesthesia, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, anemia, coagulopathy, or steroid dependency. The purpose of this document is to review commonly used approaches for the care of the post-mastectomy wound and addresses the complications encountered in these patients. Rehabilitation of the post-mastectomy patients produces problems of varying complexity. Pathophysiology, prevention, and management of lymphedema are also discussed. Mastectomy is a safe operation with low morbidity and mortality. Although the incidence of post-operative complications is low, physicians should be aware of the morbidity unique to mastectomy and axillary node dissection.

  • Breast Cancer: Radiotherapy and Adjuvant Systemic Modalities
    Radiation therapy (RT) plays an important role in management of breast cancer. In all situations, RT must be delivered in a manner that will appropriately treat the target tissues and minimize risks to adjacent normal tissues. For patients desirous of breast-conserving therapy (BCT), lumpectomy plus breast RT is typically the preferred approach, because it provides long-term survival rates equivalent to that achieved with mastectomy. This chapter also briefly reviews our current understanding of the role of adjuvant systemic therapy in the management of breast cancer in the modern era.

  • Cancer, Sexual Health & Intimacy
    Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. As patients move away from the acute phase of illness, healthy sexual functioning is an important step toward re-establishing their sense of well-being. Several physiologic and psychological factors specific to oncology patients (e.g. advanced disease, radical surgery, pelvic irradiation, symptoms related to menopause, pre-morbid sexual dysfunction, and negative self-concept) can promote sexual morbidity. These issues may place cancer survivors at increased risk for the development of sexual problems.

  • Uterine Cancer: Early Detection
    Each year approximately 36,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with endometrial cancer. There are currently no routine screening techniques for endometrial cancer in the general population. It is predominantly a disease of affluent, obese, postmenopausal women of low parity. Over the last few decades, age-standardized incidence rates have risen in most countries and in urban populations. Developing countries and Japan have incidence rates four to five times lower than western industrialized nations, with the lowest rates being in India and south Asia. There are currently no routine screening techniques for endometrial cancer in the general population. The vast majority of women have early-stage disease at diagnosis owing to postmenopausal bleeding. The American Cancer Society (ACS) has recommended that at the time of menopause, the average-risk woman should be informed about the risks for symptoms of endometrial cancer and be strongly encouraged to report any unexpected bleeding or spotting to her gynecologist. When appropriate, genetic counseling and testing should be offered.

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