Cancer & Women
As a woman, your lifetime risk for some form of cancer is one in three. In fact, cancer ranks as the second most frequent cause of death for American women, after heart disease. That’s why routine gynecology appointments are critical in avoiding life-threatening diseases such as breast, cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
At Aventura OB/GYN Advanced Care in North Miami, gynecologist Dr. Remberto Santos will review your family and personal medical history to determine if you have any risk factors for cancers that commonly affect women. He will then recommend any appropriate screenings.
Our goal is to screen for cancer before any signs or symptoms occur. Regular screenings like Pap smear and clinical breast exam, combined with advanced diagnostics, can be significantly effective in detecting diseases that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Common cancers among women include:
Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the U.S. It is often detected by checking your breasts for any lumps, thickening, swelling, nipple distortion, or nipple discharge.
Mammograms are also essential for detecting breast cancer. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women between the ages of 40-74 who have an average risk of breast cancer should have yearly mammograms. Those at higher risk should also have an annual breast MRI.
If a lump or tumor is detected, Dr. Santos will perform a biopsy to check for the presence of cancer cells. If the biopsy results are positive for breast cancer, he will refer you to an oncologist for treatment.
Cervical cancer is most prevalent in women between the ages of 35 and 44, although 15 percent of cases are reported in women older than 65.This cancer is typically caused by a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV). An HPV vaccine is available for girls and women between the ages of 11-26.
A Pap smear is the most common screening for cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women 21–29 years old with an average risk of cervical cancer should have a Pap test every 3 years. Women between 30–65 years old should preferably have a Pap test as well as an HPV test every 5 years, although it is acceptable to continue with just a Pap test every 3 years.
If the results of your Pap smear indicate abnormal cells are present, Dr. Santos will perform a colposcopy to examine your cervix and obtain a tissue biopsy if he sees any areas of concern. If the biopsy results are positive for cervical cancer, he will refer you to an oncologist for treatment.
This cancer occurs in the lining of the uterus and is the most common form of uterine cancer. The primary symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Dr. Santos will examine your abdomen for any abnormal masses or lumps and perform a pelvic examination and a Pap smear test. He may also do a transvaginal ultrasound to examine the uterus and reproductive organs. If he sees any areas of concern, he will obtain a uterine tissue biopsy. If the biopsy results are positive for uterine cancer, he will refer you to an oncologist for treatment.
Treatment usually involves surgery followed by radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of treatments. Because the majority of endometrial cancers are detected and treated early, it is associated with better outcomes than other forms of gynecological cancers.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer are often hard to notice until the disease is in its later stages. Watch for urinary problems, discomfort, pain during intercourse, and increasing abdominal girth. These symptoms are similar to other reproductive disorders, which is why it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis.
Dr. Santos will examine your abdomen for fluid retention and perform a pelvic examination to check for abnormal ovarian or abdominal growths. He will order lab tests including urine and blood samples. He may perform an ultrasound or refer you for a CT scan or MRI. He may also recommend a diagnostic laparoscopy, which is a procedure to examine and biopsy any suspected cancer masses. If the biopsy results are positive for ovarian cancer, he will refer you to an oncologist for treatment.
Treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves surgery followed by chemotherapy. Ovarian cancer that is detected and treated early is associated with the best outcomes.
If you are at risk for breast cancer or any gynecological cancers, or you are experiencing any unexplained symptoms, it’s vital to see a gynecologist. In North Miami, Florida you can trust Dr. Remberto Santos. For an appointment, call Aventura OB/GYN Advanced Care at (305) 931-7960 or you can request one online.