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Gynecologic Cancer

Gynecologic cancer is cancer originating in the female reproductive organs. It includes cancer of the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. The risk of getting cancer increases with age, inherited gene mutations or a family history of cancer. Each gynecologic cancer is unique, with different signs and symptoms, different risk factors, and different prevention strategies. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and risk increases with age. When gynecologic cancers are found early, treatment is most effective.

Some gynecologic cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. There is a vaccine that protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls. Ideally, girls should get three doses of this vaccine before their first sexual contact. It also can be given to females who are 13–26 who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger.

One of the gynecologic cancers, cervical cancer has a screening test (the Pap test) that can find this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective. The Pap test can also prevent cervical cancer by finding precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. In addition to the Pap test, which is the main test for cervical cancer, there is a test that looks for HPV. It may be used for screening women aged 30 years and older, or at any age for women who have unclear Pap test results.

There is no simple and reliable way to test for the other gynecologic cancers in women who do not have any signs or symptoms. That is why it is important to know about the cancers, recognize warning signs, and learn what you can do to reduce your risk. Talk with your doctor if you believe that you are at increased risk for gynecologic cancer and ask what you might do to lower your risk.

Types of Gynecological Cancer
Cervical Cancer
Cervical cancer affects the cervix, which is the opening into the uterus, or womb. Cervical cancer used to be one of the most deadliest cancers, however now that more women are getting Pap smears on a regular basis, the prognosis is much better.

Vulvar Cancer
Cancer of the vulva, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the vulva. The vulva is the outer part of a woman’s vagina. The vagina is the passage between the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows) and the outside of the body. It is also called the birth canal.

Vaginal Cancer
Vaginal cancer is a rare kind of cancer in women. It is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the vagina. The vagina is the passageway through which fluid passes out of the body during menstrual periods and through which a woman has babies. It is also called the "birth canal." The vagina connects the cervix (the opening of the womb or uterus) and the vulva (the folds of skin around the opening to the vagina).

Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer is a disease of the uterus, or womb. There are two types of uterine cancer, the most common being endometrial cancer. Uterine cancer is the most common type of gynecologic cancer.

Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer affects the ovaries in the female reproductive system. It is often difficult to diagnose in the early stages and is considered the deadliest gynecologic cancer.

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