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Overview

The use of laparoscopy in the treatment, evaluation and staging of cancers of the female reproductive tract is one that is constantly evolving. Although its use is well recognized in some situations it is not indicated in all situations. The following outline gives a general overview but each patient's situation is unique and must be evaluated on an individual basis.

Cervical Cancer
1. Node Sampling: to aid in determining the extent of spread so that radiation treatment can be more accurately directed. It also has been used therapeutically to remove enlarged nodes but this is a controversial area. Individuals which are overweight (based on height and weight) may not qualify for a laparoscopic approach

2. To aid in the placement of radioactive needles for individuals with large tumors.

3. To convert an abdominal approach to a vaginal hysterectomy in individuals with Stage Ia tumors who are appropriate candidates.

Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer
1. For surgical staging and treatment in individuals who are candidates and whose body size is appropriate (based on height and weight), they may qualify for a laparoscopic hysterectomy, removal of the tubes and ovaries, and lymphadenectomy.

Ovarian Cancer
1. Evaluation of adnexal masses.

2. In select individuals who are unexpectedly found to a small cancer of the ovary when the ovary was removed for other reasons, complete staging to determine if chemotherapy is required.

3. To document or rule out recurrent disease.