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Gynecologic Cancer

Comprehensive Care for Gynecologic Cancer

Marian Regional Medical Center offers diagnostics, treatment, and supportive services in a state-of-the-art facility, Mission Hope Cancer Center, an accredited Comprehensive Community Cancer Center. 

Specialized care and support

Gynecologic Oncologist

A gynecologic oncologist is a medical doctor who has specialized training focused specifically on the treatment of cancer of the female reproductive system. If you have been diagnosed with ovarian, endometrial/uterine, cervical, vulvar, or vaginal cancer, it’s important to have a gynecologic oncologist on your medical team. 

Mission Hope Cancer Center offers this specialized level of care right here on the Central Coast. Jonathan Tammela, MD, FACOG, is a full-time board certified gynecologic oncologist. Additionally, Dr. Tammela has special expertise in minimally invasive surgery, as the area’s most experienced robotic surgeon. 

Call (805) 346-3456 for more information or referral assistance.

GYN Oncology Nurse Navigator

A nurse navigator is an important source of both information and support that will help guide you through your care process. If you have questions about cancer prevention or need help navigating cancer screenings, call our GYN Oncology Nurse Navigator, (805) 346-3441.

Gynecologic Cancer Support Group

A cancer diagnosis can feel isolating, leading to loneliness, distress, anger, disbelief, and fear. Even the most supportive friends and family members do not understand what you are going through unless they have gone through cancer themselves.

Our newest support group is designed specifically for women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer. This group is offered to those individuals newly diagnosed, currently in treatment, recovering from treatment, as well as those living with ongoing treatment management.

To provide greater access for people to connect and flexibility for busy schedules, meetings are held virtually. Meetings via Zoom are the second Tuesday of the month at 9:00 a.m. Please call Mission Hope at (805) 346-3441 to register.

Types of Gynecologic Cancer

Gynecological cancers are found in a woman’s reproductive system. The five most common types include:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Uterine/endometrial cancer
  • Ovarian cancer

Common Causes

Doctors don’t know what causes gynecological cancers. However, they have identified a number of factors that may increase your risk of developing it: 

  • Age increases your risk of all gynecological cancers.
  • A family history of uterine cancer or ovarian cancer increases your risk of these cancers.
  • Exposure to excess estrogen (with or without progesterone) increases your risk of uterine cancer.
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with an increased risk for cervical cancer.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of gynecological cancer depend on the type of cancer and the organ affected. They may include:

  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Changes in urination or bowel movement habits
  • Skin or color changes of the vulva
  • Itching and burning of the genitals

Symptoms of gynecologic cancer can be difficult to recognize because they are similar to those caused by or related to other conditions. This makes it even more important to pay attention to your body—know what is normal for you. Discuss any changes, even those you may consider minor, with your health care provider.


Prevention strategies and treatment options depend on the type of gynecological cancer. For example, the HPV vaccine is useful in helping prevent cervical cancer. Being aware of the signs of specific gynecological cancers and understanding your risk factors can help you and your doctor find and treat potential gynecological problems as soon as possible.

Treatment depends on the stage of cancer. It may include:

  • Radiation therapy to shrink tumors or kill cancer cells
  • Hormone therapy, which lowers levels of hormones in the body or prevents hormones from working
  • Targeted therapy to kill cancer cells using markers that only appear on them and not on healthy cells
  • Chemotherapy, which stops cancer cells from growing or kills them
  • Surgery to remove the tumor or affected organ

Often, treatment will include more than one approach. 

Find a doctor

If you don’t have a health care provider, we can help you find one that’s right for you, just click the button below or call (805) 270-2513.


Find a doctor



If you have questions about cancer prevention or screenings our GYN Oncology Nurse Navigator can help!

Find a doctor

If you don’t have a health care provider, we can help you find one that’s right for you, just click the button below or call (805) 270-2513.