Be accepted

For the active cancer patient
Close this search box.

Femininity, sexuality and gynaecological cancer

We have talked to

Dr. Margit Bartl

Specialist in the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics incl. the interdisciplinary Breast Health Centre at the Ottakring Clinic


Could you please briefly explain the differences between cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal carcinoma and vulvar carcinoma ?

These are completely different types of cancer. Some of them can be diagnosed very quickly and well because they are on the outside of your body.

Vaginal cancer is usually a wound on the vagina, vaginal cancer on the inside, vulvar cancer on the outside. You may even be able to detect it yourself if you observe yourself as a woman. The gynaecologist should detect the disease and confirm the diagnosis throug a biopsy.

This is difficult with ovarian cancer, which causes few early symptoms. Symptoms are, for example, digestive disorders, the abdominal girth increases, sometimes it causes pain. Ultrasound shows suspicious cysts and fluid in the abdominal cavity.

If women in your family already have breast and/or ovarian cancer, you should tell your gynaecologist so that a genetic test can be carried out to identify healthy women with a higher risk.

Uterine cancer, which originates in the mucous membrane, usually involves bleeding, which also occurs after the menopause. If there is any suspicion, a curettage, scraping of the uterus, confirms the diagnosis. The risk of developing the disease is increased by obesity, and there are also hereditary forms.

Cervical cancer and vulvar/vaginal cancer are usually caused by HP viruses, against which you can be vaccinated.

The gynaecologist can detect the preliminary stages in a Pap smear. Women with an HPV infection of the cervix have an increased risk; a smear test (HPV test) can also be used to determine whether this virus is present.

Gynaecological cancer affects women in their primal femininity.  Which measures do you recommend your patients for them being able to cope with the diagnosis in the best possible way, also with regard to their femininity ?

There is often a lot of sadness and I think that as a doctor you should simply allow this sadness. You can´t allay it.

Affected women need the support of a partner. This can also be a friends a safe network.

Talking openly about the physical changes that will happen due to the illness and therapy.

Also they should always remember that there are many changes that have to do with femininity but not femininity itself!

Some women also need temporary psychological or psychiatric help. Not everyone has enough resources to cope with the fears and changes.

What do the cancers mentioned above mean for a woman’s sexuality? Is the intimate encounter with a man/woman possible the same way once all wounds have healed or are there restrictions, if so what are they?

Of course there are sexual problems the severity of which is felt differently by each woman. These can be pain during sex, or simply reduced


You need to be logged in to view this content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us