Pelvic cancer refers to the rare type of cancer that affects both genders (especially women) in the pelvic region where cancerous cells begin to grow uncontrollably due to abnormalities. Pelvic cancer can cause major reproductive cancers such as cancer of the uterus or uterine cancer, cancer of the testicles or testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cancer of the ovaries or ovarian cancer, cancer of the cervix or cervical cancer, cancer of the vagina or vaginal cancer, cancer of the vulva or vulva cancer. The diagnosis of pelvic cancer is pretty difficult as there may be vague or no symptoms at all in the beginning.
Causes and symptoms of Pelvic Cancer
The main cause of pelvic cancer is not clear, but there are some risk factors include age, family history of pelvic cancer, Human Papillomavirus infection (HPV) that causes genital warts and genetic inheritance.
Symptoms of pelvic cancer may include:
- Pelvic pain
- Pain while sexual intercourse
- Vaginal discharge which is abnormal
- Vaginal bleeding which is unusual
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive issues such as diarrhea
- Blood spots in urine
- Frequent passing of urine
- Burning and itching in the pelvic area
- A lump on the pelvic region
Diagnosing Pelvic Cancer
Other than examining the symptoms, some of the diagnostic tests include physical examination, pelvic examination, PET , CT, and biopsy. The result of these tests will help the doctor to choose the most appropriate treatment method in order to entirely cure the cancer.
Treatment of Pelvic Cancer
The major treatment methods for pelvic cancer are as follows:
- Surgery: The first and probably the only treatment you require if diagnosis can be done at an early stage. This process involves removing the cancerous cells from your pelvic region and surrounding areas to make sure the cancer is completely eradicated. Surgical procedure is extremely effective if the cancer hasn’t metastasized to nearby organs such as lymph nodes and vagina.
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a treatment procedure that uses anti cancer drugs to shrink the cancer and reduce its growth. It is effective in treating higher stage of pelvic cancer and may be used before or after the surgery. It can also be used for treating people who cannot undergo surgery due to health complications.
- Radiation therapy:
Side effects of pelvic cancer treatment are as follows:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain during urination
- Mouth sores
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Abdominal pain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Digestive issues
- Loss of appetite
- Unexpected weight gain
Post operative care
Once the treatment is finished, you can return to your home within 2-3 days and indulge in daily activities after 4-8 weeks.
Your doctor will closely examine you in follow up checkups imaging and physical tests will be conducted to see how well you are recovering.
You will have to follow the guidelines given by the health care team such as proper diet, workouts and coping with treatment side effects.
Avoid sexual intercourse for a few weeks until you are comfortable.