Knowledge is power. What can be done to reduce the risk of gynecological cancer?

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Cancer is a disease in which some cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in a woman’s reproductive organs, it is called gynecological cancer. The five main types of gynecologic cancer are: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. (A sixth type of gynecologic cancer is the very rare fallopian tube cancer.)

Of all the different gynecologic cancers, cervical cancer is the only one that can be detected with screening tests in its early stages, when treatment is most effective. Since there is no easy and reliable way to screen for gynecologic cancer other than cervical cancer, it is especially important to recognize the warning signs and learn what can be done to reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

Every gynecologic cancer is unique, with different signs and symptoms, different risk factors (things that can increase your risk of getting the disease), and different prevention strategies. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancer and risk factors increase with age.

Reduce the risk of cervical cancer

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer.

The HPV vaccination is recommended for adolescents aged 11 to 12, but can be given from the age of 9 years. HPV vaccination is also recommended for everyone up to the age of 26 if they have not been vaccinated before. HPV vaccination is not recommended after the age of 26. However, some adults ages 27 to 45 who have not yet been vaccinated may choose to get an HPV vaccine after talking to their doctor about their particular risk factors for getting HPV infection and the potential benefits of getting vaccinated.

Two screening tests can help prevent cervical cancer or detect it in its early stages: the Pap smear test, which detects precancerous cells that are cancerous Changes in cells in the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer if not treated appropriately, and the HPV test to detect the virus that causes these changes.

Other factors can also help reduce the risk of cervical cancer: don’t smoke; Use condoms during intercourse and limit the number of your sexual partners.

Reduce the risk of ovarian cancer

There is no known way to prevent ovarian cancer, but several factors are associated with a lower risk of developing ovarian cancer: taking birth control pills for five or more years; had a tubal ligation (connecting tubes), both ovaries removed, or a hysterectomy (a surgical procedure to remove the womb and sometimes the cervix); after childbirth and some studies suggest that women who breastfeed for a year or more may have a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

Reduce the risk of uterine cancer

There is no known way to prevent uterine cancer. But the following factors can reduce the risk of developing womb cancer: taking birth control pills; maintain a healthy weight and be physically active; Taking progesterone if you are taking estrogen.

Reduce the risk of vaginal and vulvar cancer

Only the HPV vaccination protects against these two types of cancer.

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