Gynecologic cancer is actually a grouping of several types of cancer affecting women. The tissues and organs that are targeted for gynecologic cancer are part of a female reproductive system. This includes cervical cancer, uterine cancer, fallopian tube cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer and ovarian cancer.
Although no woman is potentially at risk of developing cancer, certain factors can increase the likelihood of developing this disease. Smoking, obesity, hypertension, HPV infection and the use of certain medications (such as some types of drugs birth control) can increase chances of developing gynecologic cancer. Because heredity plays a role, women with a family history of cancer have a greater chance of contracting this disease.
Although we all know how early detection is crucial when dealing with a potentially life-threatening disease, no one likes to consider the fact that they could have a deadly disease. However, if any of these signs and symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor to find the cause.
Pelvic pain or pressure. Any type of pelvic pain or pressure should be taken seriously. These include pelvic pain that occurs in certain situations (like when you turn your body specifically), when folded, move, or during sex. These are all warning signs that should be evaluated by your doctor.
Abnormal bleeding. This is a very important signal. Bleeding when your period is not monthly, bleeding after menopause, bleeding between periods and unusually strong flow during the period that these are all warning signs of gynecologic cancer. Report any unusual vaginal bleeding, urinary or anal to your doctor as soon as possible.
Abnormal discharge. Inform your gynecologist about any change in your normal vaginal discharge.
Any pain that does not heal. If you have pain that does not heal properly or heals very slowly, inform your doctor.
Constant feeling of fullness. If you have trouble eating because you feel full and experience the feeling of fullness soon after starting to eat, tell your healthcare provider.
Changes in bathroom habits. The changes in normal bladder (frequency or urgency) or bowel patterns (including nausea, diarrhea, gas and indigestion) lasting more than two weeks should be reported to your doctor.
Unintentional weight changes. If you suddenly lose weight without diet or exercise, or unexpectedly begin to gain weight for no apparent reason, let your doctor know.
Lumbago. Although many non-cancerous conditions can cause back pain, low back pain can sometimes indicate a problem with the ovaries or uterus. Only a doctor can say for some.
Other signs include: color changes, pain in the genital region and bloating of the skin.
Have annual checkups, routine gynecological exams and Pap tests for your protection against the risk of cancer. Talk to your doctor about any unusual changes that may be experiencing, especially if you have one or more of the above warning signs of gynecologic cancer.