According to the Betty Allen Gynecological Cancer Foundation, in 2019, it is estimated nearly 109,000 women will be diagnosed with a gynecological cancer. Gynecological cancer is any cancer starting in a woman’s reproductive organs. The main types of gynecological cancers include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.
While there is no known way to prevent gynecological cancers, there are things you can do to help lower your chances of getting them. It is important to find gynecological cancers early, when treatment can be most effective.
- Pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. If you have any abnormal vaginal bleeding, or if you have any other signs and symptoms of gynecological cancer for two weeks or longer and they are not normal for you, talk to your doctor right away. The symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor.
- Make healthy lifestyle choices. For overall good health, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, avoid smoking and practice safe sex.
- Know your family history and be sure to share it with your doctor.
- Get the HVP vaccine if you are at an age when it is recommended. It protects against the types of HPV most often causing cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancers. It is given in a series of three shots. The vaccine is recommended for girls, ages 11 and 12, and those ages 13 – 26 who did not get any of all of the shots when they were younger.
- Get regular Pap tests. Pat smears are one of the most reliable and effective cancer screening tests available. Pap smears can find precancerous changes on the cervix that can be treated so cervical cancer is prevented. A Pap smear can also find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
- Get the HPV test, if it is recommended by your doctor.
To learn more about gynecological cancers, visit any of the following websites: