Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts. Gynecologic cancers begin in different places within a woman’s pelvis, which is the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones.
There is no way to know for sure if you will get a gynecologic cancer. That’s why it is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you, so you can recognize the warning signs or symptoms of gynecologic cancer.
If you have vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, talk to a doctor right away. You should also see a doctor if you have any other warning signs that last for two weeks or longer and are not normal for you. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor.
Cervical Cancer: Early on, cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor.
Ovarian Cancer: Ovarian cancer may cause the following signs and symptoms—
Uterine Cancer: Uterine cancer may cause vaginal discharge or bleeding that is not normal for you. Bleeding may be abnormal because of how heavy it is or when it happens, such as after you have gone through menopause, between periods, or any other bleeding that is longer or heavier than is normal for you. Uterine cancer may also cause other symptoms, such as pain or pressure in your pelvis.
If you have bleeding that is not normal for you, especially if you have already gone through menopause, see a doctor right away. Also see a doctor if you have any other signs or symptoms for two weeks or longer. These things may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see your doctor.
Vaginal Cancer: Early on, most vaginal cancers do not cause signs and symptoms. But if there are symptoms, they may include —
Vulvar Cancer: Many women who have vulvar cancer have signs and symptoms. They may include-
If your doctor says that you have a gynecologic cancer, ask to be referred to a gynecologic oncologist—a doctor who has been trained to treat cancers of a woman’s reproductive system. This doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.
Gynecologic cancers are treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of cancer and how far it has spread. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Women with a gynecologic cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
Surgery: Doctors remove cancer tissue in an operation.
Chemotherapy: Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
Radiation: Using high-energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer.