Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Gynecologic Oncology

Editor's Note

Fortunately, many of the gynecologic malignancies have a high "cure" rate. This relatively impressive success rate with gynecologic cancers can be attributed in great part to the development of diagnostic techniques that can identify pre-cancerous conditions, the ability to apply highly effective therapeutic modalities that are more restrictive elsewhere in the body, a better understanding of the disease spread patterns, and the development of more sophisticated and effective treatment in cancers that previously had very poor prognoses. This optimism should be realistically transferred to the patient and her family. When the prognosis is discussed, some element of hope should always be introduced within the limits of reality and possibility.

There is convincing evidence that cytologic screening programs are effective in reducing mortality from carcinoma of the cervix. The extent of reduction in mortality achieved is related directly to the proportion of the population that has been screened. The role of estrogen and its possible relationship to endometrial cancer are receiving increased attention in both the scientific and the lay press. The beneficial effects of estrogen in treating vasomotor symptoms of menopause are becoming better recognized. Most neoplasms of the ovary are asymptomatic unless they have been subject to rupture or torsion. Widespread intraperitoneal dissemination can occur in ovarian carcinoma and be totally asymptomatic until ascites causes an initial symptom of abdominal distention.

Management of only the physical symptoms of cancer is now considered to be inadequate approach to oncologic care. The effect of cancer on the family and patient is profound and touches every area of their lives. Effective care of the patient requires that these needs be addressed. A team of professionals is needed to foster effective communication in the patient-physician relationship; to assess the effect of disease and its treatment on the patient's psychosocial and spiritual well being; and to achieve optimal care of the patient and family.

Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)

Women's Health & Education Center
Dedicated to Women's and Children's Well-being and Health Care Worldwide