The amount of information you receive at the time of diagnosis can feel overwhelming. All at once, you may feel there are many unanswered questions, decisions to be made and so much information to understand and absorb. It can be helpful to have friends and family with you when discussing your diagnosis and treatment.
Understanding Your Diagnosis
A team of health care professionals will work with you and your family throughout your diagnosis and treatment. Each member of your treatment team has an important job, but the most vital member is you. In order to play an active role during your treatment, you should try to learn as much as possible about your gynecologic cancer diagnosis.
Common Types of Cancer Treatment
The choice of treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Gynecologic cancers are treated by using one or more of the following:
- Surgery may be performed through a traditional open incision in the abdomen or using a minimally invasive technique such as laparoscopy or robotic technology.
- Radiation therapy is provided to women whose cancers have invaded deeply into the uterine wall, cervix or vagina or have spread to the lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally or injected into a vein or muscle, in which case they travel through the bloodstream and can affect cancer anywhere in the body.
- Hormone therapy is not considered standard treatment, but may be recommended by the physician when a patient who strongly desires future fertility has cancer presumably confined to the uterus.
- Targeted therapies may be combined with chemotherapy to try to make the chemotherapy more effective.
- Complementary and alternative medicines are used along with or instead of standard medical treatments.
- Clinical trials are designed to test some of the newest and most promising treatments for gynecologic cancer.