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Everything you need to know about the symptoms of gynaecological cancers

Women, Gynaecologic cancer (that are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar cancer) tend to have their own symptoms. Thus, it is essential to take a note of them at the right time, and deal with them.

Did you know? Gynaecologic cancer can be described as uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells that tend to originate from the reproductive organs. Gynaecologic cancer includes cervical, ovarian, uterine, and vaginal and vulvar cancer.  Opting for regular screening/ check-ups can help in early detection. It is also important to know your family history – that may make you susceptible to some of the gynecogical cancers & will help determine whether you need genetic testing. If cancer is diagnosed at an early stage you can get early, appropriate treatment and achieve good outcomes. Likewise, lifestyle modifications like staying physically fit and sticking by a well-balanced diet can keep cancers like uterine cancer at bay. Moreover, you have to also keep in mind that you do not ignore the symptoms, and present timely to the specialists for treatment.

Here we list out the symptoms of Gynaecologic cancer which you shouldn’t miss:

Ovarian cancer:  Cancer that begins in the ovaries (part of the female reproductive tract that produces eggs) is ovarian cancer. It is commonly seen in older women. The symptoms of ovarian cancer are loss of appetite, feeling full quickly, bloating, change in bowel/ bladder habits, abdominal distension and pain. If you notice the symptoms and these persist for 2 weeks, you must consult the specialist doctor and initiate the investigation without further delay.

Cervical cancer: Cancer that occurs in the cervix (neck of the uterus) is called as cervical cancer. It is caused by persistent infection with High risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and can be prevented Did you know? Vaginal bleeding especially after sex, foul smelling vaginal discharge, leg/ pelvic pain are the symptoms of cervical cancer.Don’t ignore these red flags!

Uterine cancer: This cancer also known as endometrial cancer and begins in the uterus. Do you know? The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped pelvic organ. This cancer with good outcomes as most cases present in early stage with vaginal bleeding after menopause. Once cancer is detected, early surgical removal of uterus with ovaries and tubes can help one get almost cured of uterine cancer. For early diagnosis and treatment, it is essential to take notice of these symptoms and visit the doctor.

Vaginal cancer:  It is a rare cancer.

The symptoms of vaginal cancer which you shouldn’t ignore are abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding. Similarly, pain during intercourse and the presence of an obvious mass is also alarming.

Vulvar cancer: It is a rare form of cancer wherein abnormal growth takes place on the external female genitalia mainly in older women. Are you aware? Vulvar cancer can be cured when diagnosed early. Constant itching, pain or burning sensation, while urinating, bleeding and discharge which are not associated with menstruation and pigmented/white lumps locally, are symptoms of vulvar cancer that you should immediately see the doctor.

BY: Dr J N Kulkarni, Head of Department GU and Gyn Asian Cancer Institute

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