More than 84,000 women living in the United States are diagnosed with a gynecologic (GYN) cancer – cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancer – each year.# GYN cancer can occur at any age, so even if you”re beyond the “childbearing years,”# it doesn”t mean you should stop seeing your gynecologist. Below is important information on three of the most common GYN cancers.
Most cervical cancers are caused by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).# For females ages 9 to 26, there is a vaccine that protects against HPV.# Smoking, poor eating habits, a long history of oral contraceptive use or having a family history of cervical cancer also increase the risk of contracting cervical cancer. Warning signs include abnormal vaginal bleeding, increased vaginal discharge, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse. Routine pap tests radically reduce mortality rates associated with cervical cancer, and beginning at age 21, women should have a pap test every three years.
Known as the “silent”# cancer, ovarian cancer is rarely detected until it”s in an advanced stage.# Unfortunately, no screenings exist for the disease, but you can help protect yourself by knowing your family health history and recognizing symptoms.# Warning signs include a persistent or worsening of, abnormal bleeding or swelling, feelings of fullness or discomfort in the pelvic region, pain during intercourse or frequent urination.
Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
Endometrial cancer is the most common GYN cancer in the United States.# All women are at risk, but most cases occur in menopausal or postmenopausal women.# Unfortunately, like ovarian cancer, no accurate screenings exist, so recognizing symptoms such as postmenopausal bleeding, irregular vaginal discharge or pain or pressure in the pelvis is vital.
As a leader in women”s health services, Northside diagnoses and treats more cases of GYN cancer than any other hospital in Georgia. A dedicated team of GYN oncologists, surgeons and specialty-trained oncology nurses provides patients with the highest level of expertise to diagnose, evaluate and treat GYN cancers.# For more information on Northside”s cancer program, go to www.northside.com/cancerinstitute.