Dignity Health | hello Healthy | Spring 2019

HelloHealthy | Spring 2019 7 Cancer care with kindness From diagnosis to treatment, Dignity Health’s community of skilled nurses, expert physicians, and patient navigators delivers exceptional cancer care. Let us help you on your way to healing. Visit dignityhealth.org/bakersfield/cancercare or call to find an expert in cancer care: 661.365.0191 . Get treatment from a specialist “Multiple studies have shown a greater chance of survival for women with cancer who are treated by GYN oncology specialists,” Dr. Tammela says. Ovarian cancer Ovarian cancer may be the most difficult of these three cancers to try to prevent. Risk factors include an early onset of menstruation, as well as late menopause. “Some women are at genetic risk because they have a BRCA gene,” Dr. Tammela says. Anything that suppresses ovulation can help reduce the risk for ovarian cancer. That includes pregnancy and breastfeeding. Like uterine and cervical cancers, ovarian cancer is treated with surgery. And almost all women with ovarian cancer will need to undergo chemotherapy treatment. Uterine cancer “There are about 60,000 cases of uterine cancer every year in the U.S.,” says Dr. Tammela. “And the No. 1 risk factor for developing uterine cancer is obesity.” That’s because obesity converts hormones in the body to estrogen, which increases a woman’s risk for uterine cancer tenfold. Maintaining a healthy weight is one way to reduce the risk of uterine cancer. This type of cancer is usually treated with a hysterectomy and lymph node removal. That most often is done using minimally invasive robotic surgery, Dr. Tammela says. If the cancer has spread, chemotherapy and radiation may also be used. Cervical cancer Most cervical cancers are caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Most sexually active people will be exposed to HPV. Females and males can help prevent infection by getting the HPV vaccine, Dr. Tammela says. Regular Pap tests help catch cervical cancer early. Cervical cancer is treated surgically, often with a radical hysterectomy and lymph node removal, Dr. Tammela says. Chemotherapy and radiation may be needed if the cancer has spread. GYNECOLOGICAL CANCERS What to know about three common types When you think of cancer in women, breast cancer is probably the first to come to mind. It is the most frequently diagnosed female cancer. But gynecological (GYN) cancers are common in women too—particularly uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Those are the three GYN cancers Jonathan Tammela, MD, most often sees as a board- certified gynecologic oncologist surgeon at the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center, a partner of Dignity Health. He knows a lot about GYN cancers—how to diagnose and treat them and, perhaps most importantly, some steps women can take to avoid them.