Thousands of women are diagnosed each year with gynecologic cancer.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and the perfect time to discuss the signs and symptoms of this deadly disease. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year more than 113,500 women will be diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer, and more than 33,000 will die from the disease.
Ovarian cancer includes cancer of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the primary peritoneum (the tissue lining the abdominal wall and covering the abdominal organs). Together, this group is the fifth leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer can include:
- Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- Upset stomach
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
- Changes in a woman’s period, such as heavier bleeding than normal or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal (belly) swelling with weight loss
During regular pelvic exams, your doctor checks for signs of ovarian cancer. If your doctor suspects signs, you will likely be sent for imaging tests and/or blood tests.
Cervical cancers can be as unique as the patients who are diagnosed with them. Cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms early on. Advanced cervical cancer often causes bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal, such as bleeding after sexual intercourse. See your doctor if you have any of these signs, as they may be caused by something other than cancer. Only your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis.
Read our recent blog about pap tests to learn more about how cervical cancer is detected.
It is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. See your doctor right away if you experience any unusual vaginal bleeding. If you have any of the other unusual signs that are not normal for you for two weeks or more, see your doctor.