In general, incidences of cancer tend to be highest in countries whose populations have the highest life expectancy, education level and standard of living. However, the reverse is true for some types of cancer, such as cervical cancer, a common type of gynecologic cancer. Understanding the possible causes and risks of gynecologic cancers can help women and their loved ones prevent or find them earlier when they are small, have not spread and are more likely easier to treat.

Comprehensive Care for Complex Gynecological Conditions

Between 2012 and 2016, about 94,000 women were diagnosed with gynecologic cancer each year. A cancer diagnosis can be life-changing for the person diagnosed and their loved ones. The multidisciplinary team of physicians and staff at Baptist Medical Network are passionate about providing patients with personalized treatment and support, no matter what stage of life they are at.

Baptist Medical Network offers comprehensive gynecologic oncology services in San Antonio for complex benign and malignant gynecological conditions. When you visit us for a diagnosis or a second opinion, we are ready to help you map out a treatment plan that works best for you and your health goals.

What Is Gynecologic Oncology?

Gynecologic oncology is a specialized field of medicine that focuses on treating and managing female reproductive cancers. A pap test/pap smear and the HPV test can help prevent and find cervical cancer early. Other gynecologic cancers do not have regular screening tests. That's why it's essential to recognize the warning signs of other cancers and identify risk factors to reduce the chances of developing gynecologic cancer. The five main types of gynecologic cancers are:

  • Cervical cancer – begins in the cervix, the lower, narrow end of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer usually has no symptoms until the cells turn cancerous and begin spreading to the deepest parts of the cervix or other pelvic organs. Symptoms may include vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal odor and pain.
  • Ovarian cancer – begins in the ovaries, which are located on both sides of the uterus and can sometimes start in the fallopian tubes or peritoneum. Ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer among women. Ovarian cancer symptoms are bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain and difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
  • Uterine/endometrial cancer – begins in the uterus lining, called the endometrium. The uterus is where the baby grows during pregnancy. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common sign of uterine or endometrial cancer. 
  • Vaginal cancer – begins in the vagina, also known as the birth canal, that connects the outer genitalia to the uterus. Vaginal cancer mostly affects women between 50-70 years old. Signs of advanced vaginal cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding, pain, problems with urination or bowel movements, watery vaginal discharge or a lump or mass in the vagina. 
  • Vulvar cancer – begins in the vulva, the outer part of the female genital organs, which includes the inner and outer lips of the vagina, the clitoris and the opening of the vagina and its glands. Early symptoms of vulvar cancer include itching that won't go away, skin that appears lighter or darker than usual, or a bump or lump that can be wartlike or raw. Vulvar cancer may also cause pain or burning, bleeding or discharge unrelated to a woman's normal menstrual period or an open sore that has lasted for months or more. Some women also report having cauliflower-like growths similar to genital warts or ulcers in the genital area.

What Is A Gynecologic Oncologist?

Gynecologic oncologists are specialized physicians who have received an additional three to four years of training after completing a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology. They work in multidisciplinary teams to diagnose and treat cancers of the female reproductive organs, such as ovarian, cervical and endometrial cancer.

They perform surgical procedures to remove as much cancer as possible while sparing healthy tissue. These procedures often involve nearby organs, including colon resection, splenectomy and removal of tumors from the diaphragm. In addition to learning these specialized surgical techniques, gynecologic oncologists provide chemotherapy and comprehensive gynecologic oncology care to women throughout their cancer treatment.

Gynecologic oncologists also play an essential role in assisting general gynecologists and obstetricians in providing fertility-sparing treatment for women with early gynecologic cancer who want to bear children. They work with a multidisciplinary medical care team, which includes:

  • Surgeons – doctors who perform operations
  • Medical oncologists – doctors who treat cancer with medicine
  • Radiation oncologists – doctors who treat cancer with radiation

When To See a Gynecologic Oncologist?

What may be normal to you may not be normal to other women, which makes it important to pay attention to your body and notice any changes or symptoms that may point to a gynecologic condition. A general gynecologist can help refer you to a gynecologic oncologist if necessary. Some of the most common symptoms of gynecologic cancers to watch out for include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Feeling full too quickly or having difficulty eating, bloating and abdominal or back pain
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • More frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation
  • Itching, burning, pain or tenderness of the vulva, and changes in vulva color or skin, such as a rash, sores or warts

Schedule an Appointment

If you're experiencing pain or discomfort related to a gynecologic condition, have been recently diagnosed or know someone who has, Baptist Medical Network is your destination for women's health services in San Antonio. Our goal is to help you achieve better health for life. To learn more about our comprehensive portfolio of gynecologic services and vast network of healthcare providers or schedule an appointment, call 888-417-4961 or find a gynecologic oncologist nearby here.

Insurances Accepted

We accept various medical insurance plans at our multiple locations in San Antonio, so you can get the care you need for your condition. For questions about your coverage, please contact your insurance provider directly or visit our patient resources page for your billing and insurance questions. If you have specific questions regarding insurance coverage at any Baptist Medical Network location, call us at 210-606-9071.

Find an OB/GYN Doctor in San Antonio

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort from an undiagnosed condition or injury, speak with one of our OB/GYN doctors at Baptist Medical Network for proper diagnosis and advice on the best treatment options for your condition. If it is an emergency, please contact 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Please don't delay care.

Oncology Patient Resources


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