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Gynecologic Cancer - What is Gynecologic Cancer?

Gynecologic cancer is a group of cancers that affect the tissue and organs of the female reproductive system. Each type of cancer is named after the organ it originates.

Types of gynecologic cancer include: -
  • cervical cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • uterine cancer
  • vaginal cancer
  • vulvar cancer

Causes and Risk Factors of Gynecologic Cancer

The causes and risk factors of gynecologic cancer vary among the different types, but there are some common risks: -
  • HPV infection
  • DES exposure (synthetic estrogen given to women before 1971 during pregnancy to prevent miscarriage, but ultimately causing health risks to the expectant mother and daughters/son they carried)
  • smoking
  • HIV/AIDS infection
There are also gynecologic risk factors that we have no control over like age, race, and family history of certain diseases and conditions that elevate our risk. A risk factor is not a prerequisite to developing a disease; some women will still develop a gynecologic cancer despite not having any risk factor for it.

Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancer

Symptoms of gynecologic cancer vary, depending on the type of cancer. A broad spectrum of gynecologic cancer symptoms may include: -
  • pelvic pain
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse
  • persistent abdominal swelling or bloating
  • unintended weight gain or loss
  • persistent bowel changes, like diarrhea or constipation
These are common symptoms of gynecologic cancer, but there are more symptoms that relate specifically to each type.

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Diagnosis of Gynecologic Cancer

How gynecologic cancer is diagnosed depends on what type of cancer is suspected. Pelvic exams, colposcopy exams, imaging tests, biopsies, and possible even diagnostic surgery are all methods of diagnosing gynecologic cancer.

Once cancer is confirmed, the stage of the cancer is then determined and a treatment plan is developed. Staging refers to how far the cancer has spread to nearby tissue or organs.
  • What To Ask Your Doctor When Diagnosed with Cancer?
  • Do You Need a Second Opinion?

Treatment of Gynecologic Cancer

Treatment for gynecologic cancer depends on the type of cancer, stage, and other general health factors. Common methods of treating gynecologic include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
  • Find a Doctor: UCompareHealthCare
  • How to Choose an Oncologist
  • How to Find a Surgeon

Prevention of Gynecologic Cancer

Prevention tactics differ among the types of gynecologic cancer because each specific cancer possesses their own causes and risk factors. There are some common risk factors among some gynecologic cancers in which we can reduce our risk. To reduce our risk of gynecologic cancer, you can: Reduce Your HPV Risk. Limiting your exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV) may also decrease the risk of cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. HPV is a common sexually transmitted virus that in some cases, when left undetected or untreated, may progress into cervical cancer.

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