Apart from breast, prostate, liver, lung and gastrointestinal cancer there are other common types of cancer, such as skin, bladder, thyroid and kidney cancers, gynecological cancers and more.
At Athens Medical Group (AMG) we aim to provide each person affected by cancer the comprehensive care, exceptional service and optimal medical results with compassion, dignity and respect. We offer high quality cancer care ranging from prevention, cancer assessment, treatment, support and follow up.
We apply a holistic approach bringing together cancer specialists from various disciplines, such as general surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation medical oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists, to combine their knowledge, experience and expertise for each case. This multidisciplinary group of scientists may also include experts in genetics, plastic surgery, neurosurgery, urology, gynecology and cardiology as well as other health experts, such as dietitians and psychotherapists.
This process is designed to gather all the best possible ideas relevant to your case for thorough consideration before eventually recommending a comprehensive treatment and care plan that is personalized to your specific disease, stage, overall health status, and expectations.
AMG care team
At AMG we understand that there is no single approach to cancer care that fits every patient. That is why we focus on you to create a treatment plan that takes into account your individual needs and encompasses our wide range of cancer treatment options.
Your personal care team will guide you and your family through everything you need to know about screening, genetic testing and treatment options for your specific type of cancer and will work closely with you to decide the best course of action for you, including appointments and provision of support services that will be available for you.
At AMG we provide various treatment options for patients with common types of cancer including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy as well as a variety of surgical operations with very high success rates.
At AMG’s hospitals patients are offered an integrated and holistic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers. Your gynecologic oncologist works in collaboration with a team of specialists, all experts in their field, in order to provide you with the treatment and care that best suits your needs.
Endometrial (womb) cancer diagnosis
Abnormal uterine bleeding is the most common symptom of endometrial cancer that helps to its early diagnosis. The cancer may be confirmed with minimally invasive examinations such as endometrial biopsy, vaginal ultrasound scan and hysteroscopy.
After endometrial cancer is confirmed a number of tests may be carried out, such as blood tests, chest X-ray and transvaginal ultrasound. Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan helps determine if the disease has spread outside the pelvis. Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is useful in assessing the cervical involvement. Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT helps identify possible metastases.
Cervical cancer diagnosis
Regarding cervical cancer, a positive high-risk HPV test should lead to colposcopy and biopsy. If there is uncertainty about the involvement of other areas than the cervix, examination should be performed by an interdisciplinary team including a gynecological oncologist and a radiation oncologist. Examination involves radiological imaging, such as thorax X-ray and intravenous pyelogram. Computed tomography (CT) helps identify pathological lymph nodes, while magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides information on the tumor size with high accuracy. Positron emission tomography (PET) accurately reveals the extent of the disease.
Ovarian cancer diagnosis
Measuring the serum CA 125 and serum carcinoembryonic antigen helps the diagnosis of ovarian cancer. These are cancer markers, that constitute substances produced by the cells of the body in response to the presence of cancer.
Ultrasonography of the abdomen and pelvis is recommended when there is suspicion for ovarian cancer and transvaginal ultrasonography provides an improved visualization of the ovarian structures. Computed tomography (CT) scans are used to determine the extent of the disease.
Vaginal cancer diagnosis
A pelvic exam and a Pap test are usually the first tests carried out in order to identify abnormalities indicative of vaginal cancer. Further examinations include a colposcopy, for a magnified view of suspicious areas of the vagina, and the removal of a tissue sample (biopsy) to be tested for cancer cells.
If a diagnosis of vaginal cancer is confirmed, more examinations are carried out that help in the staging of the disease.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET), help identify and measure abnormalities and tumors, as well as determine whether the cancer has spread.
Endoscopy, allows the doctors to see in detail inside the bladder (cystoscopy) and the rectum (proctoscopy).
The first step in diagnosing vulvar cancer is physical examination, including a pelvic exam. Additionally, other kinds of diagnostic examinations might be used, such as a biopsy of suspicious tissue to identify cancerous cells, computed tomography (CT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT scans, in order to find abnormalities and tumors, as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to measure a tumor’s size.
Endoscopy is the insertion of a thin, lighted, flexible tube called an endoscope, into the body of the patient, under sedation.
Cystoscopy is the insertion of the endoscope through the urethra into the bladder.
Proctoscopy or colonoscopy, is the insertion of the endoscope through the anus into the rectum.
X-rays are used to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the lungs.
Skin cancer types include melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Skin cancer usually starts as changes to your skin.
Diagnosis should be based on excisional biopsy on the affected area of the skin. The tissue sample should then be processed by experienced pathologists.
Additional tests might include imaging tests to examine the nearby lymph nodes and the extent of the disease or a sentinel lymph node biopsy, a procedure during which a nearby lymph node is removed and tested for signs of cancer.
Diagnosis of bladder cancer is carried out with cystoscopy and confirmed by biopsy of the mucosa.
However, important tools for the diagnosis of bladder cancer are ultrasounds and urine cytology (the examination under a microscope of collected urine specimen).
A biopsy obtained during transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) is important for a pathological diagnosis. The histological findings of the biopsy may lead to further imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT urograms, or retrograde pyelograms.
Additional tests, such as bone scans and chest imaging, may be carried out in order to identify metastases of the cancer.
If there is suspicion for kidney cancer, urine and blood tests is a first step followed by imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scan, useful for identifying the invasiveness of the tumor, possible spread to lymph nodes and distant metastases. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides additional information on the invasiveness of the tumor.
Obtaining tissue (biopsy) from the core of a renal tumor provides may provide very useful information on the cancer and is recommended before surgery with the use of ablative therapies.
Further tests to determine whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body are crucial for the correct staging and treatment of the condition.
Our specialists have expertise in treating common, rare, and hard-to-treat gynecologic cancers, using advanced diagnostics and the latest technologies and therapeutic techniques. Your treatment plan, among other options, may include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Our gynecologic oncology surgeons are experts in complex laparoscopic and robotic surgery and risk reduction operations for inherited cancer syndromes, with excellent results.
– Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive technique that significantly reduces the hospital stay, post-operation pain and recovery time, while offering excellent oncological results.
– Robotic surgery has the same advantages as advanced laparoscopy, allowing surgeons to operate with increased precision and accuracy and thus perform more easily and effectively laparoscopy operations that would be otherwise technically challenging.
Laparoscopic Intraperitoneal Hyperthermia Chemotherapy is considered one of the most revolutionary methods for treating advanced ovarian cancer.
As a chemotherapy method, it outperforms systemic chemotherapy, and offers many advantages to the cancer patient as well as his/her family and social environment.
Comparative assessment of ‘mean survival’* of patients treated with Laparoscopic Intraperitoneal Hyperthermia Chemotherapy as well as patients treated with systemic chemotherapy demonstrated, in all recent studies, that Laparoscopic Intraperitoneal Hyperthermia Chemotherapy offers, on average, double survival rates than those of systemic chemotherapy.
* The average length of time from either the date of diagnosis or the start of treatment for a disease, that patients diagnosed with the disease are still alive.
External radiotherapy radiation is applied to the patient externally (from the outside to the inside) through Linear Accelerators.
Brachytherapy is a form of radiotherapy where a radiation source is placed inside or next to the area requiring treatment. It is an interventional method that plays a major role in the treatment of gynecological cancer in conjunction with Surgery, Chemotherapy, and External Radiotherapy.
Depending on the stage of the disease and the therapeutic indications, Brachytherapy is applicable to unresolved or operated cases of gynecological cancer, as a complementary therapy, before, after or during external Radiotherapy, or even as a single therapy.
If skin cancer is limited to the surface of the initial skin, the biopsy that removes the entire growth may be an adequate treatment. In case that additional treatment is necessary, the following options are available:
Cancerous cells are destroyed by freezing with liquid nitrogen.
– Excisional surgery
Appropriate for any type of skin cancer, excisional surgery involves the excision of the cancerous growth and the surrounding tissue.
Radiotherapy uses high-powered energy beams to destroy cancer cells and is selected when surgery is impossible.
– Photodynamic therapy
Photodynamic therapy involves the destruction of cancer cells with the use of laser.
– Chemotherapy cream
Chemotherapy creams may be used against skin cancer. Systemic chemotherapy is applied against cancers that have spread to other parts of the body.
– Biological therapy
Biological therapy involves the use the body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells.
Bladder cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in urology that is treated with transurethral tumor removal (a TURBT operation) when it is non-invasive or superficial or with the radical removal of the bladder (and often adjacent organs) when it has invaded the muscles.
– Robotic and Laparoscopic Surgery
Until recently bladder removal was performed with traditional, open surgery, through a long incision in the abdomen. Today, thanks to advances in medical science and technology, radical bladder removal is performed with minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopy or robotic surgery.
Robotic bladder removal offers optimal oncological, functional and cosmetic results, while minimizing possible post-operative complications and helps maintain sexual function in both men and women.
At the same time, after robotic bladder removal, the chances of the female patients to retain their uterus with its components as well as an important part of the anterior vaginal wall, are maximized.
Chemotherapy for bladder cancer involves the use of a combination of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Systemic chemotherapy helps with improving the patient’s chances to become eligible for removal of the bladder, or with treating the cancer when surgery isn’t an option.
Intravesical chemotherapy is the primary treatment for cancer affecting only the lining of the bladder.
Immunotherapy involves the use of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. It may be administered intravenously or through the urethra and directly into the bladder (intravesical therapy).
Radiotherapy uses energy sources to destroy cancer cells. Radiotherapy may be combined with chemotherapy, especially in cases that surgery is not recommended.
Kidney cancer has particularly high rates of cure, especially if the disease is detected at an early stage.
The most effective treatment of kidney cancer is the surgical removal of the tumor, which is done either by removing the whole kidney (open laparoscopic or robotic radical nephrectomy), or by partial excision of part of the kidney along with the tumor (Open, Laparoscopic or Robotic Partial Nephrectomy).
– Robotic Surgery
The most modern approach is robotic assisted partial or radical nephrectomy, which in turn offers benefits to the patient, both during surgery and postoperatively.
For some people, alternative options are available to destroy small tumors without surgery. These options include:
– Treatment to freeze cancer cells (cryoablation). During cryoablation, a special hollow needle is inserted through your skin and into the kidney tumor using ultrasound or other image guidance. Cold gas in the needle is used to cool down or freeze the cancer cells.
– Treatment to heat cancer cells (radiofrequency ablation). During radiofrequency ablation, a special probe is inserted through your skin and into the kidney tumor using ultrasound or other imaging to guide the placement of the probe. An electrical current is run through the needle and into the cancer cells, causing the cells to heat up or burn.
These procedures may have advantages for certain patients and are a potential option for people who can’t have other surgical procedures as well as for those with small kidney tumors.
– Drugs that use your immune system to fight cancer (biological therapy). Biological therapy (immunotherapy) uses your body’s immune system to fight cancer. Drugs in this category include interferon and aldesleukin (Proleukin), which are synthetic versions of chemicals made in your body. Nivolumab (Opdivo) is an immunotherapy sometimes used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma.
– Targeted therapy involves the use of special drugs that help prevent kidney cancer cells from multiplying. It is effective in treating kidney cancer that has spread to other areas of the body.
– Radiotherapy is used to contain the symptoms of kidney cancer that has spread to other areas of the body, such as the bones and brain.
Some of the most frequent questions asked to our doctors include:
By Nimer G. Shaheen, MD, PhD, FACS, Director Surgeon of General Laparoscopic Surgery, Surgical...
By Elias Hindipas, Obstetrician - Gynecologist, Scientific Associate, GAIA Obstetrics - Gynaec...
Filadelfeos & Kefalariou 1, 14562 Kifisia Athens, Greece