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Cancer Types

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Gynecological Cancers & Oncology

The MMP gynecologic oncologists at MaineHealth have advanced education and training in treating cancers of a woman’s reproductive tract. The MMP gynecologic oncologists at MaineHealth are the only cancer specialists in Maine with additional fellowship training in advanced open and minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy, and immunotherapy for treating cancers of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva.

They work with you and your primary care provider to develop individualized treatment plans.

What is gynecologic oncology?

Gynecologic oncology is medicine that focuses on cancers of a woman’s reproductive system.

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 Gynecological cancer signs, tests and treatments vary with the cancer type as well as the cancer stage.

Gynecological Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of gynecological cancer vary with the cancer type. With some cancers, such as ovarian cancer, there may be no symptoms at all. Common symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Vaginal bleeding (when you are not having your period)
  • Vaginal discharge

Gynecological Cancer Diagnosis

Diagnosing gynecological cancer can include pelvic exam, biopsy and scans.

Gynecological Cancer Treatments

Treatment depends on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread. Women may have more than one treatment that could include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation


Ultrasound can detect lumps in the ovaries

Ovarian cancer happens when abnormal cells form in one or both of a woman’s ovaries. The ovaries make female sex hormones. The ovaries also store and release eggs. A doctor may notice a lump in an ovary during a pelvic exam. A lump may be seen in an ultrasound. Most lumps are not ovarian cancer. Learn more about ovarian cancer.

Uterine cancer also is called endometrial cancer

Uterine cancer is also known as endometrial cancer. Uterine cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow in the lining of the uterus. Endometrial cancer is more often diagnosed in women over 50. It is usually diagnosed with a biopsy. Learn more about uterine cancer.

There are several tests for diagnosing vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer is the result of malignant cells growing in the vagina. The vagina is the canal leading from the opening of the uterus to outside the body. A baby passes through the vagina at birth. Tests for diagnosing vaginal cancer may include physical exam, pelvic exam, Pap smear, colposcopy (using lighted magnifying instrument), and biopsy. Learn more about vaginal cancer.

Vulvar cancer is rare

Vulvar cancer is a rare cancer most commonly diagnosed in older women. The cancer forms on the outer surface of a woman’s genitals. It most often develops as a lump or sore than causes itching. Diagnosis of vulvar cancer is with a biopsy.  

Cervical cancer is common

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide. It occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus and opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage with a Pap smear. Cervical cancer can be prevented by diagnosing early changes to the cervix with a Pap smear. Learn more about cervical cancer.