Gynecologic Cancer Types
Each year, more than 82,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers impacting the reproductive organs. These cancers fall into four major categories.
Cervical cancer affects the tissues of the cervix, the narrow lower end of the uterus that leads from the uterus to the vagina.
Symptoms: bleeding after intercourse; excessive discharge between menstrual periods.
Risk factors: Smoking, multiple sexual partners, HIV, HPV wart virus infection, and early age of first intercourse.
Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus.
Symptoms: Any bleeding after menopause or irregular vaginal bleeding before menopause.
Risk factors: Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, use of hormones and late menopause. Women who have not been pregnant have a slightly higher risk.
Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries, a pair of organs located in the pelvis that produce eggs and female hormones.
Symptoms: Though ovarian cancer usually causes very few specific symptoms, they can include pressure or fullness in the pelvis, abdominal bloating or changes in bowel and bladder patterns.
Risk factors: Include age, family history and few or no pregnancies.
Vaginal and Vulvar Cancers
Vaginal and vulvar cancers affect the vagina, or birth canal, and the vulva, the outer part of the vagina.
Symptoms: Itching, bleeding or a mass in the vulva area.
Risk factors: Advanced age or other pre-malignant conditions.