Gynecologic cancer includes endometrial, cervical, ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.
Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that develops in a woman’s reproductive organs. It occurs within a woman’s pelvis, that is the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones. It includes endometrial, cervical, ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancer. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and this increases with age. Each condition can be different for different women, with a unique set of symptoms. The good thing about detecting this type of cancer early on is that treatment can be most effective when it is detected early.
Here are 5 warning signs of gynecologic cancer for when you should contact a doctor immediately, as per the National Foundation For Cancer Research:
1. Any Changes Below The Belt
This could include abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharge accompanied by blood, pain in the pelvis (or abdomen), or changes in bathroom habits. According to the CDC, itching, burning, pain, or tenderness of the vulva, and changes in vulva color or skin could be signs of vulvar cancer. Pelvic pain could be an indicator of ovarian and uterine cancers. Urgent and frequent urination or constipation is common for ovarian and vaginal cancers. Bloating, and abdominal or back pain are common only for ovarian cancer.
2. Any Changes Above The Belt
While this doesn't come under gynecologic cancer, changes in the breast can help detect breast cancer. If you notice a lump or change in the skin of the breast, get it checked immediately.
3. Unexplained Weight Loss
Weight fluctuations are normal but when it happens too drastically without a reason it could be a cause for concern, Rapid, unexpected weight loss that isn't associated with a fitness regime or diet needs to be checked by a medical professional. This type of weight loss can be linked to a sign of cancer as well as other serious diseases.
4. Constant fatigue
Fatigue can be a sign of cancer. It's quite normal to be exhausted with work/life every once in a while. But if you find yourself constantly tired it's best to get it checked.
5. Unusual appetite
If you generally have a good appetite but find yourself not wanting to eat much it could be something to look into. Ovarian cancer, and other cancers outside of gynecologic cancers, often have this symptom. On the other hand, constant indigestion and nausea is also a warning sign of cancer.
According to Dignity Health, although you can prevent this type of cancer you reduce its risk by the following:
1. Understand your body and if any symptom feels persistent, talk to your doctor.
2. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 should get routine Pap tests which can help determine precancerous changes in their cervix. A doctor can advise you about taking the HPV test as well as vaccines to protect against the HPV strains that cause cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.
3. Talk to your health professional if you have a history of cancer in the family and what precautions would work for you.
4. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by exercising often, hydrating, and eating balanced meals. Practice safe sex and avoid smoking.
Stay informed. Stay healthy!Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.