September marks Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month
Posted Sep 16 2009 10:31pm
According to the American Cancer Society, each year approximately 82,550 women in the United States are diagnosed with cancers affecting the reproductive organs.
We don't often hear cancers described like this but gynecologic cancer is diagnosed every 7 minutes. It includes cancers of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, uterus and vulva.
Symptoms of gynecologic cancer include vaginal bleeding, pain in the pelvic area, indigestion, a sore that doesn't heal, a lump that causes pain, a "persistent" change in bowel or bladder habits. As you can tell women are often misdiagnosed before the correct diagnosis of gynecologic cancer is determined.
Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than the other gynecologic cancers combined often due to late diagnosis and minimal symptoms. Uterine cancer is the most common but is not as deadly.
Like cancers in other areas, gynecologic cancers can be treated by surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Risk factors include but are not limited to smoking, age, family history, estrogen use, obesity, hypertension and diabetes. Use of the cancer drug Tamoxifen is known to cause an increased risk of uterine cancer and patients should be monitored.