Most of these cancers are commonly diagnosed in post-menopausal women.
However, there are always exceptions, and we are seeing younger women diagnosed with uterine and cervical cancers.
While gynecologic cancers are uncommon, they are diagnosed in about 100,000 women in the United States each year, according to Yale Medicine. This type of cancer occurs in female reproductive organs, such as the uterus, ovaries and vulva, and is usually diagnosed by a doctor that specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN).
Type of Gynecological Cancers
Some common gynecological cancers include:
- Ovarian cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Vulvar cancer
Most of these cancers are commonly diagnosed in post-menopausal women. However, there are always exceptions, and we are seeing younger women diagnosed with uterine cancer and cervical cancer.
How to Detect Gynecological Cancer
The Pap smear is the only true “screening” option available for OB-GYNs to detect gynecological cancer, specifically cervical cancer, early. A Pap smear is a procedure where cells are collected from the cervix and tested for human papillomavirus, the virus that causes cervical cancer.
The main way OB-GYNs diagnose gynecological cancer is by listening to their patients and how they describe their symptoms.
Gynecological Cancer Symptoms
Common symptoms of gynecological cancers include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Feeling full too quickly or difficulty eating
- Abdominal, back or pelvic pain
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation
- Leg swelling
Remember, it’s never normal to bleed after menopause and your period doesn’t simply “come back.” If you are experiencing post-menopausal bleeding, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Additionally, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN or Primary Care Provider (PCP) as soon as possible and be open and honest about your symptoms.
Importance of Gynecological Healthcare
Putting off care, especially if you are having any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, gives the cancer time to grow and worsen.
“A simple, annual preventive care visit with an OB-GYN and/or PCP that you feel open and comfortable with can really make a difference in detecting these cancers early,” said Kimberly Resnick, MD, Division Director of Gynecology Oncology. “MetroHealth realizes the importance of routine women’s health care, and we do our best to be a health care resource for all women in the Greater Cleveland community.”