Gynaecological malignant tumours can have very distinct characteristics and affect different organs of the genital apparatus. With all tumours the basic principle of “early diagnosis” is imperative, or in other words: “the sooner, the better”.
The diagnostic methods may vary depending on the organ being studied. The most frequent one amongst our patients is breast cancer.
For its diagnosis, we carry out a clinical examination, imaging techniques (mammography and breast ultrasound scan), fine-needle aspiration, thick-needle biopsy and surgical biopsy. If anomalous secretions from the nipple take place, cytological research can be definitive in many cases.
Cancer in the Neck of the Uterus is due to persistent infection in certain groups of the human papiloma virus. Its early diagnosis or the diagnosis of the precursor lesions can then lead to its treatment using simple, safe, innocuous and economical techniques. The cervico-vaginal cytology has proven to be the best method yet in reducing the number of deaths due to this tumour. The methods that are used are: cervico-vaginal cytology, investigation of the presence of human papiloma virus, colposcopy and biopsy.
The colposcopy is based on the study of the neck of the uterus which is carried out after the application of acetic acid which highlights the abnormal areas. There is then a biopsy of the tissue in order to study it under microscope. These are all innocuous and painless techniques.
The inner layer of the uterus is called the endometrium. Endometrial cancer requires other techniques as it is less accessible than the neck of the uterus. These techniques include an ultrasound scan, hysteroscopy and biopsy. The hysteroscopy involves looking inside the uterus cavity with thin optical devices which will show up the anomalous areas from which the sample has to be taken so that it can be studied either with a microscope or via a biopsy.
There is less chance to study ovarian cancer since a diagnosis is rarely achieved before the tumour has become invasive. Therefore, we use ultrasound scans and the search for the so-called tumour markers in a blood test.
Vulva cancer can also be detected using the colposcopy and a small biopsy.
The treatments must be particular to each kind of tumour, based upon its size and where it is situated. Sometimes it can involve full surgery of the affected area. As complementary treatments there is radiotherapy and/or poly-chemiotherapy. In certain cases, surgery would be left as a last resort after the use of the above therapies has been tried, on their own or all together.