Did you know that more than 80,000 women a year in the United States are diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer?
There are five different types of gynecologic cancer: ovarian, cervical, vaginal, uterine, and vulval. Often, there are signs and symptoms that present themselves with these cancers; it is important that you remain cognizant of these. After all, recognizing signs or symptoms of gynecologic cancer can mean an earlier diagnosis, which could save lives.
The following are possible signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancer that every woman should be on the lookout for:
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding. Irregular bleeding is extremely common in gynecologic cancers, especially endometrial (uterine) cancer. If you’ve already experienced menopause and you experience any type of bleeding, visit your doctor to get it checked out. Similarly, if you experience bleeding between periods or you are bleeding abnormally heavily or bleeding during sex, it could be a sign of a gynecologic cancer.
- Vaginal Discharge. If you’re experiencing a dark, bloody, or smelly discharge, it could be a sign of infection. However, it could also be one of the warning signs of certain gynecologic cancers such as cancer of the uterus or cervix.
- Fatigue. We all have times when we are tired and need extra rest. However, if you’ve noticed that you have constant fatigue that is interfering with your work and social life, it may be a sign of something more serious.
- Pelvic or Abdominal Pain. Persistent pain or discomfort in the abdomen, such as indigestion, gas, bloating, and cramps, can be a sign of ovarian cancer. Constant pressure or pain in the pelvic area can be a sign of endometrial cancer.
- Unexplained Weight Loss. Who doesn’t want to lose a few pounds? However, if you suddenly lose a significant amount of weight and you haven’t changed your diet or exercise habits, it may be time to talk to your doctor.
- Swelling in the Legs. If you’ve noticed that one of your legs is swollen for no reason, this could be a sign of cervical cancer. Typically, the swollen leg will be accompanied by other signs of gynecologic cancer such as pelvic pain or vaginal discharge.
- Changes in Appetite. If you have a sudden and unexpected change in appetite – either you’re always hungry or never hungry – this could be a sign of ovarian cancer.
- Abdominal Bloating. We’ve all experienced that full, bloated feeling, especially when we have our period, or we eat or drink too much. However, if you have been bloated for more than two weeks for no apparent reason, it could also be a sign of ovarian cancer.
- Frequent Urination. Do you have frequent urges to urinate? If you’re drinking a lot of water or if you’re pregnant, then could be somewhat normal; however, it can also be a sign of cancer. If frequent urination is also accompanied by abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling full, it could be a sign of cancer.
- Constant Nausea or Indigestion. While nausea and stomachache are symptoms of many different illnesses, these symptoms could also be a sign of a gynecologic cancer. If you notice that you’ve been queasy more often than not, it’s best to see a doctor to rule out cancer.
Early Detection Can Save Your Life
No one is too young or too healthy to get cancer. Although most gynecologic cancers occur after menopause, some occur before menopause.
Some signs of gynecologic cancers are more obvious than others, which is why it’s important to discuss all your symptoms with your doctor. Recognizing symptoms early on increases your odds of detecting cancer early, when it’s most treatable. And don’t be afraid of what you may find out. Just because you have one symptom does not mean you have cancer.
If you suspect you may have symptoms of a gynecologic cancer, it is absolutely vital that you see a doctor immediately. At CyberKnife Center of Miami, our board-certified doctors are experts at diagnosing and treating gynecological cancers using minimally invasive and lifesaving state-of-the-art equipment. To make your appointment, give us a call at (305) 279-2900 or contact us online.