Benign Gynecologic Conditions
Most non-cancerous medical conditions of the female reproductive system are not serious and in many cases will resolve themselves or can be treated therapeutically. In some instances surgical intervention is required.
Fibroids: These benign growths originate within the uterine muscle wall and are typically diagnosed during a pelvic exam. Treatment is dependent upon the size, location and patient symptoms.
Ovarian cysts: Most ovarian cysts are benign and naturally go away on their own. Those that don’t resolve themselves can continue to grow causing symptoms that may include abdominal bloating, and complications like ovarian torsion which may require surgical intervention.
Adhesions, Pelvic Masses or Pelvic Infection: These benign but complicated gynecological conditions may also necessitate surgical intervention depending upon their severity.
When seeking surgical options for the treatment of complex fibroids, ovarian cysts, a pelvic mass or other GYN non-cancerous conditions it is important to put your health in the hands of an experienced surgeon. Dr. Donato performs a high volume of cases, sees a wide range of case types and is both board-certified and fellowship-trained. Gynecological surgery is the only surgery he does and he is focused on options that facilitate optimal care, rapid recovery, and the patient’s fertility. Robotic assisted surgery can be utilized for many of these conditions with less surgical trauma and quicker recovery.
Gynecologic cancers are cancers of the female reproductive system. The six main types of gynecologic cancers are cervical, ovarian, tubal, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.
- Cervical cancer forms in the cells lining the cervix or the lower part of a woman’s uterus that connects to the vagina.
- Ovarian/tubal cancers can develop on the external surface of the ovary or tube or inside the ovary/tube itself.
- Uterine or Endometrial cancer typically originates in the lining of the uterus and is the most frequently diagnosed gynecologic cancer.
- Vulvar and vaginal are both rarer types of gynecologic cancers. Vulvar typically occurs on the outer surface area of the female genitalia (the vulva) and vaginal cancer begins in the vagina.
Diagnosis of a gynecologic cancer is typically made by an internist, a family medicine physician or an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and then referred to Dr. Donato. Some GYN cancers, like cervical cancer have a preventative screening, making early detection more of a possibility and successful treatment likely. Others like ovarian with no known cause, no accurate screening test, and symptoms that are often vague and misdiagnosed, are harder to detect and when correct diagnosis is made it is typically at a more advanced stage, making it one of the more challenging gynecologic cancers to treat. The recommended treatment for ovarian cancer begins with primary surgery for diagnosis, staging and the removal of the cancerous mass and as many loose cancer cells as possible. This is called cytoreduction or dubulking and it is critical that this surgery is performed by a physician who specializes in gynecologic cancers because if all of the tumor can be removed prior to chemotherapy, patients have a better chance of long-term survival.
Treatment options will vary according to each cancer type, the grade of the tumor, and the stage of the cancer but almost always one of the treatment options is surgery. Other parts of the regimen may include chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. For patients fighting advanced ovarian cancer intraperitoneal chemotherapy may also be an option. With intraperitoneal delivery a catheter is surgically implanted in the abdomen allowing the drugs to remain active longer in the peritoneal cavity than with standard IV admission of chemotherapy. Age, overall health, and fertility issues are also taken into account when building a treatment plan.
Because of the complexity of gynecologic cancers there are many pieces to the treatment puzzle. Dr. Donato works closely with the medical oncologists and radiation oncologists at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers to ensure the most complete and thorough care for his patients. Because Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers is part of the US Oncology Network Dr. Donato also has access to the expertise of more than 1,000 physicians nationwide.