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From the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Newswise – New Brunswick, NJ – Gynecological cancer is the growth and spread of cancer cells in the cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina and vulva, as well as in the peritoneum – also known as reproductive organs, which puts every woman at risk of developing one of these cancers . The first step in treating these diseases is to expand your own knowledge of gynecological cancers. James K. Aikins, Jr., MD, FACOG, FACS, is the chief physician of gynecological oncology at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and administers patient care at that location and at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, a RWJBarnabas health facility. He is also an adjunct professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and shares more about these cancers.
Cervical cancer: Cervical cancer is the only gynecological cancer that can be prevented with regular checkups and vaccinations. Some signs of cervical cancer include pain during or bleeding after intercourse, pelvic pain, abnormal discharge / bleeding from the vagina, or odor. Almost all cervical cancer cases are caused by persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Regular Pap tests and tests for HPV can detect precancerous changes that occur in cells that can eventually turn into cervical cancer. Women between the ages of 21 and 65 are usually screened, but the frequency will vary based on age and other factors.
Uterine cancer: The American Cancer Society recommends all menopausal women educate themselves about the risks and symptoms of uterine cancer. These symptoms can include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic or abdominal pain, and pressure. Risk factors include late menopause, obesity, unrestrained estrogen, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of colon or uterine cancer.
Ovarian cancer: Doctors often rely on common symptoms of abdominal pain, pelvic gas, or changes in urinary or bowel function to help diagnose ovarian cancer. To detect this type of cancer, women should undergo an annual rectovaginal pelvic exam, during which the ovaries are checked as part of the overall gynecological exam. However, this exam will generally not detect ovarian cysts unless they are very large. The risk of ovarian cancer increases with age or a family history of ovarian or breast cancer.
Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer: Women should look out for changes in the vulva and vaginal area, such as: B. Changes in skin color, itching, sores, lumps, ulcers that do not go away, and pain or bleeding. Risk factors for these cancers are persistent HPV infection, lichen sclerosis (skin) of the vulva, and age, especially 60 years and older.
Other tips for maintaining gynecological health: The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of HPV viruses that can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Discuss with your doctor whether you or your child may be eligible for this series of vaccines. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and eating a healthy diet will all help prevent cancer, as will avoiding or quitting smoking. It is important that you take care of your body and know what is normal for you. All women should discuss a routine examination plan with their doctor, as other factors can affect the frequency of a pelvic exam, related tests, and vaccinations.