Early Detection Leads to Promising Outcomes
When found and treated early, most gynecological cancers can be cured. Early gynecological cancers often have no signs or symptoms. That's why it's important for women to have regular Pap tests for early detection of cervical cancer and pelvic exams for ovarian cancer. Symptoms usually appear when the cancer is further along.
Gynecological cancer affects the reproductive tract in women. It includes: cervical, endometrial, ovarian, vulva cancer, and uterine sarcoma. When choosing a hospital, outcomes (rates of survival) from previous patients are important. It ensures that you are in the best of hands.
There is no screening for ovarian or uterine cancer, but during a pelvic exam the doctor will feel the female organs to check their size and shape. But most gynecological tumors are hard to find early, because the organs are deep within the body. While the Pap test helps to find cervical cancer early, it is not really useful for finding ovarian or uterine cancer at an early stage.
Human papillomavirus infection: The most important risk factor for cervical cancer is infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Doctors believe that women are infected by this virus before developing cervical cancer. HPV infection occurs mainly in young women and is less common in women over 30. A vaccine is available to protect against infection with some types of HPV. If you feel you are at risk, please ask your doctor for the vaccine.
Regular Pap Tests
- All women should begin a Pap test for cervical cancer about three years after they begin having vaginal intercourse, but no later than age 21. Testing should be done every year with the regular Pap test or every two years using the newer liquid-based Pap test
- Beginning at age 30, women who have had three normal Pap test results in a row may get tested every two to three years with either the conventional (regular) or liquid-based Pap test.
Patients benefit from the intervention of a highly-experienced, interdisciplinary treatment team, comprised of gynecologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, urologists, and specialized oncology nurses and social workers. Studies show that women who have their surgery performed by a Gynecologic Oncologist live longer than those who do not.
Working hand in hand, our urologists and surgeons are able to repair incontinence issues, a common symptom of gynecologic cancer, and treat the cancer at the same time during surgery, eliminating the need for further surgery. All treatments focus on the preservation of fertility.
Progressive Treatment Options
It’s our belief that cancer treatment is not simply a matter of giving the right medicine for the right illness. We understand it’s the entire person who is going through this difficult time and we strive to help you physically, psychologically and spiritually.
Every patient is unique, every family's history is diverse and every cancer is different. Our specialized cancer team addresses this by customizing a treatment plan that meets your needs and goals. Your treatment plan may involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiation either alone or in combination with additional treatment methods.
After undergoing surgery, many patients receive radiation therapy to stop the growth of undetected cancer cells. Radiation reduces the chance of recurrence. This combination of surgery and radiation therapy has long been considered a safe and effective alternative to complete removal of an organ.
We offer the most advanced methods of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy treatment. Our patients are given a comfortable, supportive setting while receiving intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) or oral medication. In addition, we offer personalized care, including nutritional recommendations and help for patients to look and feel their best with specialized beauty tips and meditation techniques.
The newly expanded Cancer Center offers an open and flexible chemotherapy area that includes comfortable lounge chairs for patients and family, and a choice of infusion suites equipped with an individual television with headset, DVD players, iPod, and Wi-Fi for laptop access.
Advanced Radiation Technology
The Harold and Carole Pump Department of Radiation Oncology offers:
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
IMRT is the most advanced form of external beam radiation therapy. This state-of-the-art cancer treatment delivers a beam of high-dose radiation, which can take on the precise size and shape of the cancerous growth while reducing radiation to healthy tissue.
This is used for patients with breast, gynecologic, lung or gastrointestinal cancers. Internal radiation treatment is given by placing radioactive material directly into the tumor or close to it. Also called interstitial radiation therapy or seed implantation.
External Beam Radiation
The 25 MV High penetrating photons yield the highest penetrating energy available in the Valley, while resulting in the lowest side-effects.
Hormones can kill cancer cells, make cancer cells grow more slowly, or stop them from growing. Hormone therapy as a cancer treatment may involve taking medications that interfere with the activity of the hormone or stop the production of the hormones. Hormone therapy may involve surgically removing a gland that is producing the hormones.
Imaging is often used to determine the stage of the cancer or the tumor's exact location in order to make treatment decisions. We have invested in advanced imaging technology and expanded our capabilities to include highly-trained subspecialty radiologists for quick and definitive diagnoses.
Groundbreaking medical advances are the result of new ideas and approaches developed through clinical research. Northridge Hospital remains on the forefront of the latest research developments by offering participation in clinical research. For information on cancer trials we are currently conducting, please call our Cancer Research Department at (818) 885-5458.