September: Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month
Here is a staggering statistic: every five minutes, someone will be diagnosed with one of the gynecological cancers. Gynecological cancers include cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vaginal and vulvar cancer.
Breakdown of the types
– Cervical Cancer: Cervical cancer is caused by abnormal changes to the cells in the cervix, which is the area of the uterus that opens to the vagina and the area that fully dilates to allow a baby to pass through the birth canal. Cervical precancers often do not have symptoms, which is why regular PAP smears are essential to check the health of the cervical cells.
– Ovarian Cancer: As the seventh most common cancer in women, ovarian cancer was previously known as the “silent killer” – with many symptoms not developing until a much later stage of the disease, ovarian cancer symptoms such as urinary symptoms, bloating, abnormal pelvic/abdominal pain occur more frequently in women with ovarian cancer (even early stages).
– Uterine/Endometrial Cancer: Endometrial cancer occurs where there is abnormal cell growth in the lining of the uterus. The uterus, also known as womb, is where a baby grows. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in both younger and older women is the most common symptom.
– Vaginal Cancer: Primary vaginal cancer, where the cancer originates in the vagina, is one of the most rare of all of the gynecological cancers. This is cancer in the birth canal or muscular tube that connects the uterus to the genitalia. More often, vaginal cancer is associated with HPV types 16 and 18, in which, vaccinations are recommended as prevention of cervical cancer will also assist in the prevention of vaginal cancer associated with HPV.
– Vulvar Cancer: Vulvar cancer is a tumor that appears in the vulvar area which includes the vagina’s inner and outer lips, vaginal opening and its glands, and the clitoris. This is a rare tumor and is very curable when found at early stages. HPV vaccinations reduces risk and examinations at home and at the yearly gynecologist appointment will aid in early detection of any abnormalities in the vulva.
To honor the women in our lives, we are opening up the conversation about the different kinds of gynecological cancers and hope that you share this with your moms, sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, friends, and more. Awareness is great, but knowledge and prevention are KEY. Total body awareness and regularly scheduled doctor’s visits can save lives.
Spread the word
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