Gynecologic cancers affect thousands of women across the nation. Although all women are at risk of these cancers, you can take steps to understand your risk and prevent these women’s cancers. Learn about the five main types of gynecological cancer and the warning signs you should look out for.
The Five Types of Gynecological Cancer
The first types of gynecologic cancer we’ll discuss is ovarian cancer. This cancer starts in the ovaries, the organs that produce female hormones and eggs. Two ovaries sit on each side of the uterus. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any of the other gynecologic cancers. Like many others, cancer treatment is most successful when the cancer is detected early.
Never ignore the warning signs your body sends you. Talk to a specialist if you have any of these symptoms: sudden bloating; pain in your pelvis or abdomen; quickly feeling full when eating; and urinary urgency.
Around the world, cervical cancer is the second most common cause of death by cancer in women. Doctors initially find cervical cancer in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the birth canal, or the vagina. Cervical cancer can result from human papillomavirus (HPV). This makes cancer highly preventable because screening tests and HPV vaccines are available at your doctor’s office.
Beware of the cervical cancer warning signs: vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal odor, pain, and bleeding after sexual intercourse.
Uterine cancer starts in the uterus or the womb. This is where the baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Doctors can also call it endometrial cancer if it forms in the lining of the uterus called the endometrium.
Signs of uterine or endometrial cancer include vaginal bleeding or spotting after menopause, heavy menstrual periods or bleeding in between periods, watery discharge from the vagina pink or white in color, consistent pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area, and pain during sexual intercourse.
Vaginal cancer starts in the vagina, also known as the birth canal. This type of cancer usually affects women between 50-70. It’s sometimes caused by HPV, so it’s important to get the proper vaccinations to help prevent it.
Warning signs of vaginal cancer include abnormal vaginal bleeding, abnormal vaginal discharge, a large mass in the abdomen, and pain during intercourse.
Last, vulvar cancer starts in the vulva or the outer part of the female genitalia. An abnormal growth typically grows in the two folds of skin called outside the vagina called the labia. This cancer is normally found in older women.
Symptoms of vulvar cancer are usually more visible than other cancers. Contact your doctor if you find these unusual symptoms. Watch out for pink or red bumps that look like warts, a rough white area, persistent itching, burning sensation during urination, bleeding, and discharge that’s not associated with your period, and an open sore that does not go away for over a month.
Learn Your Risk for Gynecologic Cancer
At Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care, we diagnose and treat gynecologic cancers. Contact our office if you are concerned about any warning signs or symptoms listed above.