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Type, Signs, And Symptoms Of Gynaecological Cancers

Gynecological cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells that originate from the female reproductive organs. The main types of gynecological based on their site of origin are:

  1. Ovarian cancer: originates from the cells of the ovaries (the organs that produce ova/eggs)

  2. Uterine cancer: originates from the cells of the uterus (womb)

  3. Cervical cancer: originates from the cells of the cervix (the lower end of the womb)

  4. Vaginal cancer: originates from the cells of the vagina (birth canal)

  5. Vulvar cancer: originates from the cells of the vulva (the external genitalia)

In 2018, around 1.3 million new cases of gynecological cancer were diagnosed, with 0.6 million deaths worldwide. This constitutes about 7.2% of all new cancer cases and around 6.4% of all cancer-related deaths.

Risk factors for gynecological cancer:

  1. Family history

  2. Increasing age

  3. Overweight/obese

  4. Smoking

  5. Having multiple sexual partners

  6. Infection: HPV/HIV

  7. Long term use of oral contraceptive pills

Symptoms of gynecological cancers:

Ovarian cancer:

  1. Extreme, sudden-onset bloating

  2. Pelvic or abdominal pain

  3. Urinary urgency or frequency

Uterine and Cervical cancer:

  1. Vaginal bleeding/spotting in between periods, or after menopause

  2. Unusual vaginal discharge

  3. Persistent pain in the pelvic/lower abdominal area

Vaginal cancer:

  1. Abnormal vaginal bleeding/discharge

  2. Mass in the vagina

  3. Pain during sexual intercourse

Vulvar cancer:

  1. Persistent itching

  2. Pain/burning sensation while urinating

  3. Abnormal bleeding/discharge

Diagnosis of gynecological cancers

  1. Pap smear and colposcopy for cervical cancer

  2. Ultrasound scan

  3. Biopsy

  4. Blood tests for detecting genes

Treatment of gynecological cancers

  1. Surgical removal of the organ affected

  2. Radiotherapy

  3. Chemotherapy

Prevention of gynecological cancers:

  1. Regular screenings and self-examination can help in the detection of some cancers early

Lifestyle choices such as safe sex practice, avoiding smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight may be beneficial.

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