Gynecologic cancer care in Salt Lake City, Utah

The gynecologic cancer care team at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah provides the personal care and surgical expertise you need when confronted with complex gynecological conditions.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with our gynecologic oncology team, please call (801) 743-4730.

About 107,000 women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancers each year. Our team in Salt Lake City, Utah includes highly skilled gynecologic oncologists, physicians, registered nurses and specialists with years of experience managing advanced care for gynecologic cancer.

Our services include a thorough evaluation, consultation and education on your diagnosis and advanced treatment options. The choice of treatment depends on the type and stage of the cancer.

Videos about gynecologic cancer care

  • Surgical Treatment for an Ovarian Mass

  • Understanding Ovarian Cancer

  • Dr. Karen Zempolich, MD-Gynecology, Oncology


Types of cancer we treat

Our Salt Lake City, Utah team treats the following gynecologic cancers in women:

Cervical cancer

There are many factors that can cause cervical cancer. However, the greatest cause of cervical cancer is the human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus spread by sexual contact.

You may not experience any HPV symptoms, and in many cases, your body will fight the HPV infection. In other instances, the infection leads to cancer. It can take several years for healthy cervix cells to become cancerous. Pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal bleeding could be symptoms of cervical cancer.

The best cervical cancer treatment will depend on the size of the tumor, if the cancer has metastasized (spread) and if you would like to become pregnant sometime after treatment. Cervical cancer treatment at St. Mark’s in Salt Lake City, Utah may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments.

Preventing cervical cancer

Women who smoke, have many children, have been on birth control for many years or have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are at greater risk for developing cervical cancer.

Annual Pap smears, or Pap tests, with your healthcare provider are essential for screening and finding cervical cancer early. The Pap smear collects a sample of cells from your cervix, which are enlarged under a microscope for analysis.

There are also vaccines available that protect against several types of HPV, including the ones that can cause cancer.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is not common, but it leads to more deaths than any other gynecologic cancer. Like all cancers, the earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated, the more positive outcome you can expect. However, ovarian cancer is not easy to detect early.

With little to no signs of cancer, women may unknowingly live with ovarian cancer before being diagnosed. Typically, ovarian cancer symptoms are very mild until the cancer has progressed.

Ovarian cancer symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal periods
  • Unexplained back pain that gets worse
  • A heavy feeling in the pelvis
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Gas, nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Weight gain or loss

Diagnosis of ovarian cancer may include a physical exam, pelvic exam, lab tests, ultrasound, a biopsy or a combination of these tests. Ovarian cancer treatment typically includes surgery and chemotherapy.

Uterine cancer

There are many types of uterine cancer, but the most common type is endometrial cancer, which starts in the lining of the uterus. Typically uterine cancer affects women after menopause, but obesity and estrogen-alone hormone replacement therapy (menopausal hormone therapy) also increases your risk of uterine cancer.

Uterine cancer symptoms may include:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain during intercourse

Endometrial cancer treatment, as well as treatment for all uterine cancers, will depend on your overall health, the stage of the cancer and whether hormones affect the cancer’s growth. However, the most common method of treatment is a hysterectomy, which is a procedure to remove the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tube. Other treatment options for uterine cancer are hormone therapy and radiation.

Vaginal cancer

Vaginal cancer is most common in women over the age of 60, though it’s still a rare cancer. Women with human papillomavirus (HPV) or whose mother took diethylstilbestrol (DES) while pregnant are also at a greater risk for developing vaginal cancer. (Healthcare providers prescribed DES in the 1950s to avoid miscarriages in pregnant women.)

Vaginal cancer symptoms are not common in the early stages of this disease, but you should see a doctor if you experience:

  • A vaginal lump
  • Bleeding that is not your period
  • Pelvic pain

Your doctor will perform a Pap smear to identify abnormal vaginal cells that may be cancerous. Vaginal cancer treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Contact us:

Let us answer your questions. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with our gynecologic care team in Salt Lake City, please call (801) 743-4730.