Here at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, we are always happy to take some time to answer questions that our patients have, especially when they are in relation to serious health issues for women like gynecological cancers. Female-specific cancers, like cancer of the ovaries or cervix as well as breast cancer, are a major cause for concern for many of our patients. Our hope is that by answering these questions, our patients will be more knowledgeable and better prepared to catch these terrible illnesses in their earliest and most treatable stages.
Q.) Can newer breast cancer screening methods be used to replace a yearly mammogram?
Definitely not. Although there have been some outstanding developments in the field of breast cancer screening, like breast thermography, these newer screening methods cannot replace annual breast cancer screenings. Women should think of these newer methods of screening, along with breast self-exams, as a tool to help complement their annual mammograms in the fight against breast cancer.
Q.) How can ovarian cancer be diagnosed?
If a woman is experiencing common symptoms of ovarian cancer like bloating in the abdominal area, pelvic pain, or feeling full quickly when eating, we recommend that she undergo a physical exam, including a pelvic exam. This may include an imaging test of the ovaries, like a transvaginal ultrasound exam. If this testing shows the possibility of cancer, you will receive surgery, in which tissue is surgically removed and tested for cancer. This surgery is the only way to receive a conclusive diagnosis.
Q.) Are there other means of preventing cervical cancer in addition to HPV vaccinations?
Receiving an HPV vaccination is still the most highly-recommended means of preventing cervical cancer, but not all women may be able to do so. We recommend a Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for patients who have a biopsy showing moderate to severe cell activity abnormalities in the cervix. LEEP is an in-office procedure that uses a thin wire loop with a light electrical current to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. LEEP is safe, effective and requires only 1-2 days of downtime for recovery.
When it comes to cancer, there is no such thing as an unimportant question. We hope that by sharing this information, we can shine a light on these topics and encourage more of our patients to get regular cancer screenings. For more information on gynecological cancer or if you would like to request a screening appointment with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Kristine Gould, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more tips, news and updates on our upcoming events.