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Gynecologic Cancer

What is gynecologic cancer?

Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts. Gynecologic cancers begin in different places within a woman’s pelvis, which is the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones.

The five main types of gynecologic cancer are:

  • Cervical
  • Ovarian
  • Uterine
  • Vaginal
  • Vulvar

Risk factors and symptoms

Each gynecologic cancer is unique, with different risk factors. However, all women are at risk for gynecologic cancers and risk increases with age.

Symptoms typically include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Bloating
  • Changes in bathroom habits
  • Itching or burning of the vulva
  • Changes in the vulva color or skin, such as a rash, sores or warts

Learn more about gynecologic cancer risk factors and symptoms.

Screening

Treatment works best when gynecologic cancers are found early. Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent, with regular screening tests and follow-up. Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early.

  1. The Pap test (Pap smear): This test looks for precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
  2. The HPV test: This test looks for the human papillomavirus that can cause these cell changes.

Best Chance Network

Funded by the CDC and through S.C. state funds (allocated by S.C. Legislature), the Best Chance Network is a program working towards reducing breast and cervical cancer deaths through early detection and prevention. Best Chance Network is a breast and cervical cancer screening program offered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and S.C state funds and provides the following at no cost to you.

  • Help and guidance from nurses
  • Clinical breast exams by a breast surgeon
  • Screening for cervical cancer
  • Testing as recommended by a surgeon may include mammograms, ultrasounds and further testing as needed
  • Follow-up appointments as needed
  • Referrals to other doctors

Click here for more information and guidelines.

Treatment options

  • Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
  • Chemotherapy: Uses special medicines to shrink or kill cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
  • Radiation: Uses high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill cancer.

Our physicians are experts in gynecologic oncology surgeries, including minimally invasive robotic surgery, and in the administration and management of chemotherapy for gynecologic cancers.

Find a Gynecologic Oncologist