Five main types of cancer affect a woman’s reproductive organs: cervix, ovary, uterus, vagina, and vulva.As a group, they are referred to as gynecologic cancers. They are important because a significant number of these affect young females who have not yet completed their families. Each cancer is unique, with different signs, symptoms, and risk factors.
Warning signs for female gynecologic cancers include unusual vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pressure, frequent or urgent need to urinate, feeling full too quickly after eating, constipation, bloating, abdominal or back pain, changes in the external genital area like skin colour, rashes, sores and warts
Unfortunately, screening test (PAP smear, HPV testing, VIA/VILI) is available only for cervical cancer. For other gynecologic cancers, the only way is to recognize the early warning signs and consult a gynecologic oncologist.
Consultation with a gynecologic oncologist also becomes important for females who have multiple risk factors (obesity, women who never had children,HIV,multiple sexual partners) or significant family history of cancer. Such females can reduce their cancer risk by regular consultation with screening tests and/or risk-reducing surgeries.
HPV infection is one of the preventable cause of female precancerous lesions. A vaccine is now available that can be offered to young females preferably in their teens.
Gynaecological cancer treatment is showing a paradigm shift from conventional treatment protocols and surgeries to tailored approach for individual cases.
Some of the female cancers can now be managed by conservative surgeries with the preservation of important female structures.
At the same time, various precautionary measures can be taken to confer as little harm as possible to female hormonal, reproductive (childbearing) and sexual function.
Thus it is important to consult a gynecologic oncologist while dealing with any kind of cancer in females.