About GYN Cancer


Signs & Symptoms

Though it is important to remember that the symptoms of gynecologic cancers can also indicate non-cancerous health issues, gynecologic cancers do share some symptoms in common:

·         Abnormal bleeding (which includes bleeding between periods, bleeding after menopause or a sudden change to heavier periods)

·         Pelvic pain (abdominal pain below the level of the navel)—Because the female reproductive system is fairly crowded in the pelvic area, tumors can produce pressure on other areas, including the urinary tract and lower intestinal area, and cause pain.

·         Gastrointestinal discomfort—Tumors or swelling can press on the digestive system, causing constipation, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, gas, or a constant feeling of “fullness.”

·         Urinary disturbances—Because the female reproductive system also shares space with the bladder and urethra, tumors or swelling can cause symptoms similar to urinary tract infections, such as burning , pain, urgency, and difficulty with urination, as well as bladder spasms.

·         Abdominal swelling—One of the primary symptoms of ovarian cancer is abdominal bloating or swelling (usually caused by ascites—excess fluid in the peritoneal cavity).

·         Changes in the vulva or vagina—Lumps, bumps, sores should be reported to your doctor, as should areas of texture or color change in the vulvar tissues. Vulvar or vaginal itching, burning, bleeding (that is unrelated to menstruation), or unusual discharge should also be checked out, as they can be signs of cancer or precancerous changes. It is a good idea to be familiar with how your vulva normally looks so that you may recognize changes if they occur.

·         Lower back pain—There are many non-cancerous causes of lower back pain, however, less commonly, this kind of pain can signal ovarian or uterine cancer or other abnormalities of those organs.

Because many of these symptoms are common to other causes—it’s best to consult with your doctor if you exhibit a symptom listed above, especially if it appears suddenly without other explanation, is persistent, or worsens with time. Specific types of gynecologic cancer may also cause the following signs and symptoms,

 

Cervical Cancer

­ Vaginal bleeding after intercourse

­ Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odor

 

Ovarian Cancer

­ Loss of appetite or quickly feeling full

­ Persistent lack of energy

­ Persistent fever not attributable to other causes

­ Difficulty breathing

 

*If you have a family history of ovarian cancer or breast cancer, talk to your doctor about your risk of ovarian cancer. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor to discuss testing for certain gene mutations that increase your risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

 

Uterine Cancer

­ An abnormal, watery or blood-tinged discharge from your vagina

­ Pain during intercourse

 

Vaginal Cancer

­ Vaginal bleeding after intercourse

­ Abnormal/watery vaginal discharge unrelated to menstrual cycle

­ A lump or mass in your vagina

 

Vulvar Cancer

­ Pain and tenderness in the vulvar area

­ A cut or sore in the vulvar area that won’t heal

­ Vulvar pain

­ Change in size, color or texture of a birthmark or mole in the vulvar area

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