Gynaecological cancer can be treated in a number of ways, or a combination of:
- Brachytherapy (a form of internal radiotherapy for womb and cervical cancer only)
The type of treatment you will require depends on what gynaecological cancer you have.
Surgery for patients with a gynaecological cancer can be given in Antrim Area Hospital; more specialist surgery can be provided at the Belfast City Hospital. Chemotherapy for gynaecological cancer is only given in the Cancer Centre at the Belfast City Hospital. Radiotherapy is given in the Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.
Your doctors will tell you about the benefits, risks and side-effects of the treatments being offered.
Each person is different and your surgery and/or treatment will be tailored to your needs and discussed fully with you before proceeding. Procedures, surgery and treatment will not be carried out without your consent.
Surgery is often the main treatment for women with early-stage cancer of the cervix. If a patient is to have surgery to treat their cervical cancer they may undergo a laparoscopic radical trachelectomy (a type of surgery where the cervix and the upper part of the vagina are removed, but the rest of the uterus (womb) is left in place), or a laparoscopic radical hysterectomy (surgeon removes the whole uterus, tissue on the sides of the uterus, the cervix, and the top part of the vagina).
Sometimes radiotherapy may also be given after surgery if there is a risk that cancer cells may have been left behind. This helps reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. This radiotherapy is often given in combination with chemotherapy treatment for larger tumours of the cervix. This is known as chemoradiation.
It is common to treat ovarian cancer with surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible, and chemotherapy (drugs that aim to kill cancer cells).
Your treatment will depend on the type of ovarian cancer you have, as well as the stage and grade. You may have surgery before starting chemotherapy treatment, or your oncologist may recommend starting chemotherapy first. In this case, your chemotherapy will continue once you have recovered from surgery. Occasionally if the cancer is diagnosed at a very early stage it may be treated by surgery alone. In some cases, surgery is considered too risky, and chemotherapy will act as your initial treatment.
All of these treatment options can be very effective. Your oncologist and surgeon should discuss with you what treatments are available, based on your individual clinical needs and what is available locally, and your personal preferences should be taken into account.
For more information on treatment of ovarian cancer visit the following websites:
Surgery is the main treatment for vulval cancer. This form of cancer treatment aims to remove the cancer tumour and the non-cancerous surrounding cells. At the same time the surgeon will try, as far as possible, to preserve the appearance and function of the vulva.
Different operations can be used to treat vulval cancer. The type of operation a patient will have depends on the size and position of the cancer.
Many women are cured of their vulval cancer with surgery alone; however some women may need radiotherapy or chemotherapy after their operation.
For more information on treatment of vulval cancer visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
Vaginal cancer occurs very rarely. Radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy may be used to treat vaginal cancer. You may have one, or a combination, of these treatments.
For more information on treatment of vaginal cancer visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
Womb (Endometrial) cancer
Surgery is the main treatment for womb cancer. Many women are cured of their womb cancer with surgery. It may be used alone or in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy. The aim of surgery is to completely take away the cancer.
For more information on treatment of womb cancer visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website.
After treatment is completed, patients will have regular check-ups. These continue for years and are very important for the surgeon or oncologist to monitor patient progress.
Patients experiencing worrying symptoms that they think may be related to their cancer should get in touch with their GP or consultant as soon as possible.