Did you know that September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month? This is an important time to learn more about the different types of gynecologic cancers and how to reduce your risk of developing them. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of gynecologic cancers, their symptoms, and how you can get screened for them.
Gynecologic cancers are those that affect the female reproductive organs. The most common types of gynecologic cancers are ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and cervical cancer. These cancers can often be diagnosed at an early stage when they are most treatable. However, many women do not experience any symptoms in the early stages of these diseases. This is why it is so important to get screened for gynecologic cancers on a regular basis.
There are several different types of screenings that can be used to detect gynecologic cancers. A pelvic exam is one way to check for abnormal changes in the reproductive organs. Your doctor may also recommend a Pap test or HPV test to screen for cervical cancer. If you are over the age of 40, you should also get a screening for ovarian cancer.
AM I AT RISK FOR OVARIAN CANCER?
Factors that increase your risk of ovarian cancer include the following:
- Older age
- Having one or more relatives with ovarian cancer
- Having abnormalities in certain genes, such as BRCA1 or BRCA2
- Having genes that are linked to hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC; also called Lynch syndrome)
- Never being pregnant
- Being overweight
Some factors can reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer, including:
- Using hormonal methods of birth control (pills, patch, vaginal ring, injection)
- Being pregnant, breastfeeding
- Having your fallopian tubes “tied” (a procedure called tubal ligation) to prevent pregnancy
- Having your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries removed
If you are concerned about your risk of developing gynecologic cancer, talk to your doctor about the best way to stay healthy and reduce your risk. Remember, early detection is key to the successful treatment of these diseases.
Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month is an important time to learn more about these types of cancers and how to reduce your risk. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the best way to stay healthy and get screened for gynecologic cancers.