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The Gynecological Cancer Symptoms All Women Should Know About

Gynecological Cancer Symptoms | CARTI Cancer Center

In honor of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, we’re sharing the unique symptoms and risk factors for the five types of gynecological cancers – cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vaginal and vulvar. 

Since all women are at risk for developing these cancers, it’s critical that all women understand this information so they can stay in tune with their body and prioritize their reproductive organ health.

Gynecological Cancer Symptoms

  • Cervical 
    • Abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding
    • Bleeding after vaginal sex
    • Vaginal odor
    • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Ovarian 
    • Bloating
    • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
    • Pelvic or abdominal pain
    • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly 
  • Uterine/Endometrial
    • Unusual vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge 
  • Vaginal
    • Unusual vagnial bleeding
    • Bleeding after vagnial sex
    • Pain
    • Problems with urination or bowel movements
    • Watery discharge
    • Lump or mass in the vagina
  • Vulvar
    • Chronic itching
    • Abnormal bleeding or discharge
    • Skin color changes
    • Bump or lump with wart-like or raw surfaces

While many of these symptoms may be caused by other health-related issues, we recommend visiting your healthcare professional if you experience any of them. And as always, early detection is key, so stay up-to-date on your annual gynecological exams.  

Risk Factors

While all women are at risk of developing any of these gynecologic cancers, some women are at an increased risk based on certain factors. Some of these risk factors can be eliminated or reduced by making simple lifestyle changes. 

Risk factors vary depending on the specific type of gynecologic cancer, but here are some common threads:

  • Age 50+ 
  • Family history of ovarian cancer or cancers of the uterus, colon or breast
  • Have not had children or have experienced infertility issues 
  • Obesity 
  • Having hypertension, diabetes, chronic vulvar irritation or late menopause
  • Use of the medication tamoxifen or unopposed estrogen
  • Not having regular Pap screenings or a history of abnormal Pap smears
  • Smoking
  • Having had multiple sexual partners
  • First intercourse experience before the age of sixteen
  • Being infected with HIV or HPV

If you have a family history of any of the above gynecologic cancers, or any other cancers, and would like to learn if you have a genetic predisposition for developing cancer, please contact our Cancer Genetics and Risk Management Clinic. Our team of multidisciplinary specialists provide patients with genetic testing, counseling, monitoring and screenings.