Women's Cancer Issues Later In Life

Mercy Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein Addresses GYN-cancer Issues Patients Face As They Age

December 9, 2013
Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein

Mercy Gynecologic Oncologist Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein

With aging comes additional health risks, but what women may not know is that getting older also increases their chances of developing gynecologic cancers.

Throughout most of her life, 63-year-old Joanne Ghio said she was a boringly healthy patient -- she had no problems or medications -- but that suddenly changed a year ago when she went for her annual gynecological checkup.

"She did the internal exam, and then all of a sudden she got a very concerned look on her face and said, 'There's something in here that wasn't here last year, and I don't know what it is, but it's got to come out,'" Ghio remembered.

That something ended up being a tumor due to cancer of the fallopian tube.

According to Mercy gynecologic oncologist Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein, Medical Director of the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health & Medicine at Mercy, what women need to know is that their risks for gynecologic cancers increase as they get older.

"In gynecologic oncology, we're concerned about ovarian cancer. We're concerned about endometrial cancer and other cancers of the female genital tract, and certainly breast cancer," Dr. Rosenshein said.

Dr. Rosenshein noted that part of the body's defense system called “immune surveillance” may be a reason for the increased risk of cancer.

"Certainly, things change as we all get older, and one of those things are things you're not aware of, and that's immune surveillance, thereby letting clones of abnormal cells develop and develop into a cancer. Aging has its benefits, and aging has some risks, and I think one of those risks is cancer due to this immune surveillance," Dr. Rosenshein said.

Ghio had surgery to remove the cancer, and that was followed by chemotherapy. Her doctor said she handled it all with a positive attitude.

"Honestly, I really think that your positive attitude has carried both of us to this point," Dr. Rosenshein told Ghio at her latest appointment.

"Once I did know what it was and had it out, I wouldn't use the words that I had cancer anymore. I wouldn't let anybody else use them. I had cancer, but it's out of me," Ghio said. "I'm feeling fabulous."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans ages 65 or older will increase by the millions over the next 20 years. 

View Dr. Neil B. Rosenshein’s interview on WBAL-TV11 regarding gynecologic cancer issues as women age.

Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.

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