Gynecological cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases among females world-wide, with the USA alone reporting 80,000 cases every year. This risk increases with age, emphasizing the need for early detection to achieve successful treatment.
Women may develop cancers in any of their reproductive organs, including the vagina, ovary and uterus (cervix or endometrium). Early-stage cervical and endometrial cancers are usually highly curative with surgery and/or irradiation. More advanced cancers of the uterus and vagina have a greater tendency to spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis and sometimes paraspinal region. Ovarian cancer can spread over a wider region of the pelvis.
These malignancies require 5 to 6 weeks of radiation treatment to encompass the primary disease site and the lymph nodes at risk, while sparing the small intestines as much as possible. Radioactive sources may be temporarily placed (brachytherapy technique) into the vagina, cervix, uterus or adjacent tissues, either during or following the external beam irradiation with Tomotherapy, to increase the total dose to the primary tumor site.
Ovarian cancer is often advanced at diagnosis, requiring radiation treatment in addition to surgery and chemotherapy. Broader-field irradiation can be used to treat diffusely scattered tumor sites in the abdomen and pelvis, with Tomotherapy technique able to boost the dose safely to sites of bulky disease.
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