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Cancer. 1993 Aug 1;72(3 Suppl):1043-9.

Screening in gynecologic cancers.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Miami School of Medicine, FL 33101.


Gynecologic malignancies account for approximately 13% of cancers in women. Ovarian and uterine cancer are among the five most common causes of cancer deaths in women, exceeded in incidence only by cancers of the breast, colon, and lung. Improved survival in patients with genital cancers predominantly reflects early diagnosis and not improved treatments. Even cancers for which there are effective screening and satisfactory treatments are seen more often than is acceptable. It is paramount that those entrusted with the health of women be knowledgeable about all cancer screening techniques and be able to identify the patient at risk for gynecologic malignancy. The provider's obligation to be vigilant about the signs and symptoms of cancer must be matched by the patients' responsibility to her own health. Regular gynecologic examinations, Papanicolaou (Pap) tests, and immediate reporting of unusual signs and symptoms are requirements that cannot be dismissed by patients. Education directed toward patients and health care providers can optimize survival. The Pap test for cervical cancer remains a universally accepted screening procedure. Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA typing, cervicography, loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), transvaginal ultrasonography, color flow doppler, endometrial sampling, and serum CA 125 measurements are some of the newer techniques being investigation as potential screening tools. Although additional prospective studies are needed to establish the value of these modalities, there is little doubt that prognostic information obtained from these modalities will influence the clinical care of patients in the near future.

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