Gynecologic cancers
Ovarian, uterine, and cervical
(excerpted from Life Extension magazine, April 2013, p. 49)

In the US, more than 83,000 patients are diagnosed annually (CDC, Dec 20, 2012).  The three most common gynecologic cancers are uterine, ovarian, and cervical.  Each one may have a variety of symptoms and associated risk factors that may include:

Risk Factors

  • I am not getting regular Pap tests
  • I am high risk for human papillomaviruses (HPV)
  • I smoke
  • I am very overweight
  • I eat a diet high in fat
  • I am a woman older than age 60
  • I started menstruating before age 12
  • I take hormone replacement therapy (HRT)

Warning Symptoms

  • Indigestion, heartburn, nausea, or gas
  • Abdominal swelling or discomfort
  • Pelvic pain or cramping
  • Bloating or a sense of fullness, even after small meals
  • Backache
  • Painful, frequent, or burning urination with no infection
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite or unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Vaginal bleeding or irregular periods
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge after menopause
  • Pain during intercourse

These symptoms can often be similar to other diseases and conditions.  However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make and appointment with your doctor right away.  You should discuss which of the following screening and diagnostic tools may be appropriate for you: PAP test, CA-125 blood test, trans-vaginal ultrasound, biopsy.  For more info see www.cancerschmancer.org.

It is important for every woman to listen to her body and know its changes.  If you feel something is wrong, even though they symptoms are vague or the doctor says everything is fine, continue checking it out.  Ovarian cancer, especially, is misdiagnosed in its early stages when it can most effectively be treated.