Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic cancers are not a single condition, but refer to a group of cancers that affect different areas of the female reproductive system. According to the CDC, approximately 70,000 women will develop gynecologic cancer each year. Each type has different signs and symptoms, which are discussed below.

What are Gynecologic Cancers?

Gynecologic cancers are cancers that affect the individual parts of the female reproductive system. The area which is affected determines the type of cancer.

Diagram of the female reproductive system. Image courtesy of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

There are five main types of gynecologic cancers:

  • Cervical: Affects the cervix, which is located in the lower part of the uterus.
  • Ovarian: Affects the ovaries, a pair of organs on either side of the uterus which produces eggs.
  • Uterine: Affects the uterus, the organ where a baby grows during a woman’s pregnancy.
  • Vaginal: Affects the tube-like channel that connects the uterus to the outside of the body.
  • Vulvar: Affects the exterior portion of the female reproductive system.

All women are at risk of developing gynecologic cancer. This risk increases with age. While there is no way to prevent every type of gynecologic cancer, regular screening and being aware of changes in your body can help catch a cancer while it is still small and easier to treat.

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