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Gynaecological Cancers

 There are several types of Gynaecological cancer:

This is the most common gynaecological cancer affecting women in Australia. Most cancers of the uterus are cancers of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). Cancers can also develop in the muscle layers of the uterus.

Squamous cell carcinoma, the most common type, starts in the skin-like cells which cover the outer surface of the cervix at the top of the vagina.

which starts in cells called glandular cells in the cervical canal (the small opening in the cervix which leads into the uterus).

This is a malignant tumour in one or both ovaries. The most common type is serous papillary but other types include endometroid, clear cell and mucinous carcinoma.

This is cancer that begins in tissue in the vagina. This is known as a primary vaginal cancer as the cancer first starts in the vagina. Some cancers begin in another part of the body (cervix, uterus, bladder or bowel) and spread to the vagina. These are known as secondary vaginal cancers.

This cancer begins in cells in the vulva (the external female genital organs, including the clitoris, vaginal lips and the opening to the vagina).

Routine examinations and pap smears are recommended as often these cancers do not immediately provide any obvious signs or symptoms. The following are some indicators to be aware of :

Unusual bleeding, such as postmenopausal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between periods

  • Pain or pressure in the pelvis
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Change in toilet habits
  • Itching, burning or soreness in the immediate area

Radiation Therapy for Gynaecological Cancer

Radiation Therapy for gynaecological cancers is usually given to a patient alongside surgery (either before or after an operation).

For certain patients both external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy may be recommended for the treatment of their gynaecological cancer to ensure that the required therapeutic dose is delivered. Brachytherapy is useful particularly in the treatment of vaginal, cervical and uterine cancers because it allows maximum dose to be delivered, with less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.

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