QUESTION & ANSWER
What are the types of gynecologic cancers?
Gynecologic cancers develop in or around the female reproductive organs.
These cancers include:
Uterine cancer is the most common, accounting for about half of all gynecologic cancers diagnosed each year. Endometrial cancer, a form of uterine cancer, causes bleeding between periods or after menopause, allowing for early detection and treatment.
Ovarian cancer, on the other hand, is the second most common gynecologic cancer, but because it doesn’t have many outward symptoms, it’s difficult to detect and often spreads before anyone’s aware of it.
What causes gynecologic cancer?
The cause of many forms of cancer remains unknown. Evidence points to genetic mutations in some gynecologic cancers, while others result from exposure to certain toxins or other agents.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. It’s a virus that attacks the cervical lining, and in some cases leads to the development of abnormal, or precancerous, cells. If these cells continue to develop, cervical cancer can form.
HPV may also lead to certain vaginal or vulvar cancers, as well as mouth and throat cancer.
How are gynecologic cancers prevented?
Our providers use multiple tools and screenings to help prevent gynecologic cancers. The most common include:
Pap smears to test for precancerous changes in the cervix
Endometrial biopsies to test the cells of your uterine wall
Image tests to look for abnormal growths
Referrals to specialists for specific testing and other procedures
Depending on your age, your gynecologist may recommend a vaccine for HPV, as it’s the cause of most cervical cancer cases. Additionally, we counsel you on how to prevent certain cancers. Our providers may discuss the need for regular Pap smears, guidelines for safe sex, and how eating an antioxidant-rich diet and engaging in regular exercise can reduce your risk of gynecologic cancer.
At Aria Health and Wellness, Deborah Davis, APRN, WHNP-BC and Amber Burks, APRN, FNP-C provide comprehensive care and offer a wide variety of services including annual gynecological exams to help their patients maintain wellness and good health. The office serves residents who live in Allen, Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Richardson and many of the surrounding communities in the Dallas Metroplex.