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Specialized care for special patients. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland offers a wide range of services, from mammography scans to stroke care to OBGYN screening tests, dedicated to improving the health of women in Detroit and throughout Michigan.

Anissa Mattison, F.A.C.O.O.G., DO
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
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THE FACTS ABOUT Gynecologic Cancer


Gynecologic cancers are cancers of the female reproductive organs, which include the ovary, endometrium, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva. It is estimated that approximately 80,000 women in the United States are diagnosed each year with gynecologic cancer. It affects roughly one in 20 women and is the fourth most common type of cancer in women.

 Risk factors for gynecologic cancer include smoking, aging, family history, HPV infections, DES exposure, estrogen use, HIV/AIDS infection, hypertension, diabetes, infertility, obesity and hypertension.

 Many people believe there are no warning signs in the early stages of gynecologic cancer.  Some common symptoms have been identified. They include:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Genital area sore that does not heal
  • Constant or frequent indigestion or chronic abdominal pain or bloating
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Bowel habit changes that persist
  • Lump or thickening in the pelvic region that is painful or can be seen and felt
  • Unintended weight gain or loss

Pay attention to your body and see your doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. They may mean something entirely different, but it is best to be proactive about your health and check out the reasons for the symptoms. When gynecologic cancer is diagnosed early, treatment is the most effective.

Regular, thorough pelvic exams to look for signs of gynecologic cancer also play an important role in safeguarding women’s health.

Podcast Posted: 10/20/2009

If you suspect or are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, it is important to be treated by a gynecologic oncologist, who is a specialist in both the diagnosis and treatment of women with cancer of the reproductive organs. 

SJMO offers a gynecologic oncology program headed by a board-certified gynecologic oncologist, one of only 19 in the state of Michigan.

Gynecologic cancers typically are treated by surgery (radical, minimally invasive and reconstructive), chemotherapy (both intravenous and oral), radiation therapy (HDR, external beam, etc.) and clinical trial treatments. 

At SJMO, treatment for women with gynecologic cancer is discussed at tumor review boards. During the meetings, the expertise of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals is used to coordinate the best possible individualized treatment for each patient. A tumor board review includes a number of physicians who are specialists in other disciplines, such as radiation oncology and medical oncology. The physicians review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options for each patient in cancer treatment while preserving quality of life. This unique model of care provides state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The SJMO team together delivers expert treatment that remains true to our mission and treats the whole patient—body, mind and spirit.

Each patient’s personal physician is an important partner in the treatment process.

SJMO is a member of the Mercy Cancer Network. As one of Michigan’s largest cancer networks, the Mercy Cancer Network delivers advanced medicine to local communities, offering the latest in cancer diagnostics, clinical research trials and therapeutic technology.

Please contact the SJMO referral line at (800) 372-6094 for an SJMO physician near you.




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