In honor of September as Gynecologic Cancer Awareness month, we are sharing significant information about gynecologic cancer, which is only found in a woman’s reproductive system and includes five main types: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. We are also sharing symptoms of gynecologic cancer to be aware of, as well as ways to avoid the types of cancer that affect over 70,000 women per year.
Cervical cancer can be screened for by annual Pap tests. However, it is crucial to note is that there are no tests available to screen the four remaining main types of gynecologic cancer.
Despite the high incidence of cervical cancer, there are specific risk factors for vaginal cancer that are important to be aware of. For example, the age of almost half the women diagnosed with vaginal cancer are 60 years and older. In addition, smoking may encourage the growth of vaginal cancer. Women whose mothers were pregnant and delivered them from the late 1940’s up through 1971 and took the drug Diethylstilbestrol (DES) may also have an increased risk in developing gynecologic cancer.
Other factors for developing this type of cancer include partial or complete hysterectomy, previous incidence of cervical cancer, and previous radiation therapy in the reproductive area.
Here are symptoms for the various types of gynecologic cancer that you should be aware of:
Abnormal Bleeding or Unusual Discharge – Cervical, Ovarian, Uterine, Vaginal
Feeling Full Too Quickly or Difficulty Eating – Ovarian
Pelvic Pain or Pressure – Ovarian, Uterine
Frequent Urination and/or Constipation – Ovarian, Vaginal
Bloating – Ovarian
Abdominal or Back Pain – Ovarian
Itching, Burning, Pain, Tenderness – Vulvar
Changes in Skin Color, Sores or Rash – Vulvar
Treatments for gynecologic cancer vary based on the cancer type diagnosed and time elapsed since initial growth. Typical treatments may include surgical removal of the cancerous tissue, chemotherapeutic medications or radiation treatments.
Being armed with information can be powerful in creating and maintaining healthy longevity. By going to routine doctor appointments and annual tests, and by being aware of unusual symptoms, it is possible to avoid or reduce the risk of a gynecologic cancer. Home Care Assistance believes that a balanced life can enhance the health of aging adults. For more information on the types of care we offer, please call us at 1-866-454-8346 to speak with a local care manager.