Gynecologic Cancer Screening

Regular gynecologic cancer screening is vital if you have any history of gynecologic cancer in your family. Even for those with no prior family history, regular gynecologic cancer screening should be considered a part of your routine annual check-up with your gynecologist because cancer risk increases with age. Regular examinations are essential for early diagnoses and early treatment.

Types of Gynecologic Cancers

Cancer can occur in any of the reproductive organs in a woman’s body, including the uterus, cervix, ovaries, vagina, and vulva. All cancers that occur in these organs are known as gynecologic cancers. The different types of gynecologic cancer are: The treatment and recovery journey for each type of cancer is different and depends on the stage of the disease. Gynecologic cancer screenings are essential since treatment is generally more effective when the cancer is diagnosed early.

Who Is At Risk

  • Women with family members (mothers, grandmothers, aunts) who have had breast or gynecologic cancer are more at risk of having cancer themselves. In this case, your doctor may recommend genetic testing to check your disease susceptibility.

To some extent, all women are at risk for gynecological cancers, and this risk increases with age. Women who are 30 years of age and over should have regular gynecologic cancer screenings every 5 years.

One way to lower the risk of gynecologic cancer is to get the HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, which protects girls and women 9 through 45 years of age from

  • Cervical Cancer
  • Vulvar and Vaginal Cancers
  • Anal Cancer
  • Genital Warts
  • Precancerous Cervical, Vaginal, Vulvar, and Anal Lesions

Another way to lower your risk of gynecological cancer is to ensure you have regular cancer screening exams with your gynecologist. Regular Pap tests are essential for cervical cancer checks. While other gynecologic cancers do not have separate tests that identify them, a gynecological exam can help spot early signs of cancer.

Symptoms of Gynecologic Cancer

Each type of gynecologic cancer has different symptoms. The following symptoms are recognized as indicators for different gynecologic cancers and should be checked out by your doctor to rule out cancer diagnoses:

  • Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding after menopause
  • Pelvic pain or intense pressure in the pelvis
  • Unusual feelings of bloating and constipation or a frequent need to urinate

These are important red flags. As a rule of thumb, if you experience extended periods of discomfort (2-weeks or more) during your menstrual cycle or in the pelvic and vaginal region, you should visit a doctor to rule out complications. It is important to know that while some people may experience early symptoms that help identify problems, others may have no outward symptoms until cancer has reached an advanced stage. Regular gynecological exams, however, can identify most abnormalities caused by cancer and should be the norm. Early detection provides the best chance for successful treatment for most types of cancers.

Treatment for Gynecologic Cancer

Treatments vary for each type of cancer. The options available to a patient depend on the stage of disease at the time of diagnosis. In the case of ovarian, cervical, or uterine cancer, surgical intervention may be an option if the cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage. This procedure is called a hysterectomy and involves the removal of the uterus.

Gynecologic Cancer Screening at Newton Wellesley

The best way to prevent gynecologic cancer is to get regular cancer screenings. If you’ve never had a gynecologic cancer screening before, schedule an appointment today! Call us in Newton at (617) 332-2345 or Walpole at (508) 668-5555 to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online.