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Gynecologic Cancer Overview

Every woman is at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer

September is gynecologic cancer awareness month

Five main types of cancer affect a woman's reproductive organs:

  • cervical cancer
    Most cervical cancers begin in the cells lining the cervix. There are 2 main types of cervical cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. About 80% to 90% of cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
  • ovarian cancer
    Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the ovaries. Ovaries are reproductive glands found only in females (women). There are three types of ovarian cancer: epithelial (most common), germ cell and stromal cell.
  • endometrial / uterine cancer
    Endometrial cancer is a cancer that starts in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus (womb). Nearly all cancers of the uterus start in the endometrium and are called endometrial carcinomas. Cancers can also start in the muscle layer or supporting connective tissue of the uterus. These cancers belong to the group of cancers called sarcomas. Types of uterine sarcoma: Endometrial stromal sarcoma, undifferentiated sarcomas and uterine leiomyosarcomas.
  • vaginal cancer
    The vagina is sometimes called the birth canal. The vagina goes from the cervix (the lower part of the uterus) to open up at the vulva (the external genitals). Types of cancer of the vagina: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma, sarcoma.
  • vulvar cancer
    The vulva is the outer part of the female genitals. A rare kind of gynecological cancer. Types of Vulvar Cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma, sarcoma and basal cell carcinoma.
  • fallopian tube cancer (extremely rare)
    Tumor develops from cells inside the fallopian tubes. Cancer of the fallopian tubes is very rare. Fallopian tube cancer and ovarian cancer have similar symptoms.
As a group, they are referred to as gynecologic cancer. Gynecologic cancers should be treated by a gynecologic oncologist. A gynecologic oncologist is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who has an additional three to four years of specialized training in treating gynecologic cancers from an American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology-approved program.

Each gynecologic cancer is unique, with different signs and symptoms, different risk factors (things that may increase your chance of getting a disease), and different prevention strategies. When gynecologic cancers are found early, treatment is most effective.

It is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you, so you can recognize the warning signs or symptoms of gynecologic cancer.

If you have vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, talk to a doctor right away. You should also see a doctor if you have any other warning signs that last for two weeks or longer and are not normal for you. Symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer, but the only way to know is to see a doctor.

Source: CDC - What are the symptoms of gynecologic cancer? and Basic Information About Gynecologic Cancers.

Continue learning about gynecologic cancers:

Clinical Trials

There are clinical trials available for those with Cervical Cancer, Fallopian Tube Cancer, Ovarian Cancer or Uterine Cancer. We also have a quality of life study available.

Learn more about diagnosis and treatment of specific gynecologic cancers:

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