Guide: Common symptoms of gynecological cancers
Gynecological cancers encompass all cancers of the female reproductive system, including the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vulva, and vagina. All women are at risk for these cancers.
Below are some common symptoms and tips to help lower your risk:
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these could be symptoms of a gynecologic cancer:
Pelvic pain or pressure that doesn’t go away, and you don’t know why.
Feeling too full, too fast, even when you eat just a little.
Unusual vaginal bleeding, like having longer or heavier periods than what’s normal for you, or bleeding after you’ve gone through menopause.
It is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you, so you can recognize the symptoms of gynecologic cancer. If you notice anything unusual and it goes on for two weeks or longer, see a doctor.
How much do you know about gynecologic cancers? Take this quiz from the CDC to find out!
HOW CAN I LOWER MY RISK?
Dr. Jill S. Whyte says that the two most important things that women can do to protect their health and reduce their risk of cancer is to “know their bodies, know what feels normal, know when things don’t feel normal, and have a trusted clinician that they can follow up with.”
Some gynecologic cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus. The HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. CLICK HERE for more information on the vaccine.
Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that has recommended screening tests. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and HPV test can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early. Here’s what you should know about screening.
Hereditary Ovarian Cancer - Several hereditary conditions can raise your chance of getting cancer. Two of the most common are hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and Lynch syndrome. If you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may have a higher ovarian cancer risk. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.