About GYN Cancers
What are gynecologic cancers?
Gynecologic cancers are a devastating group of diseases that can develop in the female reproductive organs, including the cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina and vulva. These cancers can affect women of all ages.
Did you know?
Over the past 50 years, major advancements have been made in the screening and prevention of gynecologic cancers. A simple routine test, the screening Pap smear, has single-handedly reduced the death rate of cervical cancer by 74 percent. Similarly, the recognition of hereditary cancer symptoms has led to clinicians successfully identifying women at increased risk for certain gynecologic cancers, thus providing them with the ability to proactively intervene before a cancer arises.
Despite this progress, countless women are still dying. If every woman takes an active role in her health, we can fight the statistics and bring gynecologic cancers to the forefront. Public awareness and active research to develop new screening protocols and treatment recommendations are the best chance we have at preventing these deadly diseases.
All women over the age of 18 should establish care with a provider who perform annual gynecologic screenings and examinations. Any unusual findings/symptoms should be brought to the attention of a clinician right away. Treatment is most successful (and a complete cure is even possible) when cancers are found at an early stage. Here are some other prevention tips:
- BE PROACTIVE. Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the prevention of gynecologic cancers.
- KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY. If you have a gene that makes you more susceptible to gynecologic cancers, having this knowledge can increase the ability to prevent or diagnose a cancer at an early and treatable stage.
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Report any persistently abnormal symptoms you may experience to your clinician. These may be early warning signs.
- SEEK PROPER TREATMENT. If you are diagnosed with a gyn cancer, seek the care of a gynecologic oncologist, a board-certified sub-specialist, who is specifically trained to care for and treat women with gynecologic cancers.
- The Gynecologic Oncology section at Oncolink-Upenn features sections on clinical trials, fertility/sexual issues, genetics and gyn cancers, screening and prevention.
- Introduction to Gynecologic Oncology provides tutorials from the U of Washington, a glossary, and links to the specific gyn cancers as well as CancerLink (which includes support groups as well as professional level information).
- The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists' web site includes a membership directory to help locate a gyn-oncologist.
- Womens Cancer Network developed by the Foundation for Women's Cancer, offers a confidential risk-assessment questionnaire, among many other features in an interactive setting.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists web site also includes membership directory and resources.
- Cancer Services, see resources available to assist cancer patients and their families.
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