Skene’s gland cancer is a rare malignant tumor of skene’s gland which is situated near the opening of female urethra. It is also called adenocarcinoma of Skene’s gland. The disease mainly occurs in elderly females. Skene’s glands are considered homologus to male prostate. These glands were described by Alexander Skene in 1880. The gland ejaculates small amount of mucus which helps to stimulate and lubricate the area during coitus.
The exact cause of Skene’s gland cancer is not known but it may be linked to several risk factors such as human papilloma virus infection, smoking and intake of certain hormonal medicine.Pain during coitus, abnormal bleeding, itching and burning in female genital tract are prominent symptoms of Skene’s gland cancer.
Delay in treatment can lead to metastasis of groin lymph nodes. Treatment consists of complete surgical removal of the gland which is followed by radiation. Prognosis is usually good when treated in early stage of the disease.
Risk Factors For Skene’s Gland Cancer
The exact cause of Skene’s gland cancer is not known. This cancer mainly develops in females over the age of 40 years. Women of all race and origin across the globe are at risk of developing Skene’s gland cancer.
The risk factors for Skene’s gland cancer involve:
- Age above 40 years.
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection.
- History of mother taking synthetic estrogen hormone during pregnancy. This may affect the female child when she becomes adult.
- Women who do not undergo routine checkup for PAP smear test. PAP test is a screening test to detect cancer of cervix and other organs of genital tract.
- Females who smoke cigarette.
- Pregnancy at an early age, that is below the age of 16 years. Woman with multiple pregnancies.
- Woman suffering from low immunity due to AIDS. Woman taking immune suppressing drugs is also at the risk of suffering from this cancer.
Some researchers believe Skene’s gland cancer occurs due to genetic mutation, but confirmatory proof is yet to be determined.
Symptoms Of Skene’s Gland Cancer
Skene’s gland is tiny gland located near the female urethra. In majority of female patients suffering from cancer of Skene’s gland, no signs and symptoms are apparent, especially during the initial phase. Usually it is a single tumor but in rare instances there may be more than one tumor. The tumor is often hard to feel with ulcer formation on its surface. The ulcer may heal and reappear again after few days.
Patient complains of constant pain, burning and itching in the area. She may also pass blood in urine along with pain and discomfort during urination. There is associated abnormal bleeding from vaginal tract; this is due to ulceration of the tumor. Painful coitus, anemia, loss of appetite and weight are other symptoms that may be associated with Skene’s gland cancer.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Skene’s Gland Cancer
The diagnosis of Skene’s gland cancer is possible by following methods:
- Detailed medical history and physical examination of the female patient.
- MRI or CT scan to know the extent of spread of the disease.
- In some women there may be rise of prostate specific antigen in blood.
- Lastly tissue biopsy of the said tumor is confirmatory for diagnosing the condition.
Treatment of Skene’s gland cancer is favorable if the disease is detected in its initial stage. Early treatment will be useful to prevent complications and metastasis of the malignant cells in nearby lymph nodes. The most common approach once Skene’s gland cancer is detected, is to remove the whole mass surgically. In some cases the lymph nodes in the groin area are also removed.
In case if there is metastasis additional radiation and chemotherapy may be necessary for the patient. After the surgery patient need constant monitoring at regular interval to see if there is any recurrence of the tumor.