Breast cancer is highly treatable if detected early. We promote early detection in 3 ways:
- monthly self-breast exams – the majority of women find their own breast cancer
- yearly mammograms – starting at age 40 and every year afterward.
- yearly physician exams – ask Dr. O’Sullivan to show you best way to do self-exams
If you have a new breast lump or your mammogram is abnormal, you will need a breast biopsy to check for cancer cells. If you are diagnosed with cancer Dr. O’Sullivan will help coordinate your care with a breast surgeon and oncologist. Treatment for breast cancer may include surgery then either chemotherapy or radiation.
Cervical cancer is often without symptoms until it is advanced. That is why it is so important to have an annual Pap smear to screen for early changes in the cervical cells. Cervical cancer is 100% preventable by having a yearly Pap smear and following up as recommended if it is abnormal. We prevent cancer by removing the abnormal cells before they become cancerous. If you smoke, please quit ! Quitting smoking will greatly improve your chances of fighting cervical cancer. Treatment for cervical cancer may include hysterectomy or pelvic radiation.
Uterine cancer is the most curable of all gynecological cancers if detected early. It often causes either heavy bleeding or bleeding at a time you should not be bleeding, between periods or after menopause. If you have had changes in the amount or timing of your bleeding, inform Dr. O’Sullivan. Factors that increase your risk for uterine cancer:
- high blood pressure
- excess estrogen – either made by your body or added by medication
- nulliparity – never having had a baby
- first period at an early age
- late menopause
- family history of uterine cancer
Of all gynecological cancers, ovarian is the most difficult to detect and, therefore, to cure. In retrospect, women with ovarian cancer describe 3 physical symptoms prior to being diagnosed:
- new persistent constipation
- new persistent pelvic pain
- new persistent bloating or feeling full early in a meal
These are all very vague symptoms and are often attributed to other causes. If you are having these symptoms, discuss it with Dr. O’Sullivan, who may recommend a pelvic ultrasound or CA-125 blood test.