Gynecologic Cancer Diagnostic Services at Maimonides
The gynecologic cancer team at Maimonides Cancer Center provides a warm, personalized environment and offers every aspect of gynecologic cancer care.
This includes the latest and most innovative techniques in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Patients are often referred with such problems as an abnormal pap test, abnormal uterine bleeding, or a pelvic mass suspicious for malignancy. We specialize in all procedures related to complex gynecologic problems and gynecologic oncology, including complex surgery for advanced and recurrent gynecologic malignancies, minimally invasive cancer surgery, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. As part of a multidisciplinary team, our partners include the medical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, social workers and palliative care team here at Maimonides Medical Center.
Signs and Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancers
There are often no outward signs of gynecologic cancers. However, some common symptoms include:
- Unusual bleeding, such as postmenopausal bleeding, bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between periods.
- A sore in the genital area that doesn't heal or chronic itching of the vulva.
- Pain or pressure in the pelvis.
- Persistent vaginal discharge.
Screening for Gynecologic Cancers
Gynecologic cancers are often detected through a series of screening exams.
- Your doctor will first perform a pelvic exam to evaluate your vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries and rectum.
- During the pelvic exam, your doctor will gently scrape some cells from the cervix and vagina to examine under a microscope. This is called a Pap test.
- If the Pap test is abnormal, your doctor may perform a test called a colposcopy to closely examine the cervix. Scraping cells from the cervical canal (endocervical curettage) may also be necessary.
- A small sample of tissue may be taken from any suspicious area. This test is called a biopsy.
- Occasionally, doctors need to examine a larger sample of cervical tissue. It is obtained during a procedure called conization or cone biopsy.
- In some situations, your doctor may recommend an exam under anesthesia to better evaluate the extent of a cancer. Tests requiring anesthesia include examination of the bladder (cystoscopy) and rectum (sigmoidoscopy).
- Abnormal uterine bleeding, a common symptom of uterine cancer, is usually evaluated by performing a dilatation and curettage, also called a D and C.
- Your doctor may also ask for MRI, CT, PET or ultrasound scans of the abdomen and pelvis to better evaluate areas that cannot be directly viewed, such as the ovaries.