Gynecological Malignancies - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Cancer is a condition in which cells of your body replicate haphazardly. It is the abnormal, haphazard, and rapid division of cells. Gynecological malignancies refer to the one that starts in the female reproductive system. 



Anatomy of the female internal reproductive organs


The female reproductive organs constitute the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vagina.

The ovaries are responsible for producing an egg (ovum) every month, and the uterus is responsible for bearing the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The fallopian tubes, also known as oviducts, connect the uterus with the ovaries giving a passage for the egg to come to the uterus. The uterus is connected to the vagina or birth canal-a muscular canal that is responsible for the reception of the penis during sexual intercourse and the provision of a passageway for the baby during childbirth. The vagina connects the uterus to the external reproductive organs.


Types


Depending on the part of the reproductive system where cancer starts, it can be divided into the following types;


  • Cervical cancer

  • Ovarian cancer

  • Vaginal cancer

  • Vulval cancer

  • Womb cancer-also is known as endometrial or uterine cancer.



Cervical cancer 


The cervix is the canal that connects the womb and the vagina. Cancer that arises in the cervical region of the female reproductive system is known as cervical cancer. It can be prevented through regular screening through pap smears. Women above the age of 50 should get their smear tests done frequently so that they can be detected early. Cervical cancer may show the following signs and symptoms;


  • Vaginal bleeding at abnormal times

  • Watery and bloody vaginal discharge 

  • Pelvic pain 

  • Pain during intercourse


Ovarian cancer


It is the second most common type of gynecological cancer. A woman has two ovaries- each of them produces an egg every month. An abnormal, haphazard, and rapid division of ovarian cells is known as ovarian cancer. Sometimes these cells can come from fallopian tubes that are located close to the ovaries. Ovarian cancer may show the following signs and symptoms;



  • Discomfort in the pelvis area

  • Changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea

  • A frequent need to urinate

  • Abdominal bloating 

  • Feeling full when eating

  • Weight loss



Vaginal cancer


The vagina is a muscular tube that connects the uterus with the outer genitals. Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer of the female reproductive system that causes abnormal and rapid cell division. It can cause the following symptoms;


  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

  • Frequent urination

  • Constipation

  • Pelvic pain

  • Watery vaginal discharge

  • A lump or mass in your vagina

  • Painful urination



Vulval cancer


The vulva is the part of the external genitalia, an area of skin that surrounds the urethra and vagina, including the clitoris and labia. It may cause the following signs and symptoms;


  • Itching of the vulva that doesn't go away

  • Pain and tenderness

  • Abnormal bleeding apart from menstruation

  • Skin changes, such as color changes or thickening

  • A lump, wart like bumps on the vulva



Womb cancer


Womb cancer causes abnormal growth of cells in the endometrium. Sometimes it is also called uterine cancer. It may show the following signs and symptoms;


  • Bleeding between periods

  • Pelvic pain

  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause



Prevention 



To prevent gynecological cancer the following tips can help;


  • Take a regular part in pap smear and breast cancer examinations.

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat a healthy diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables.

  • Do not smoke, also avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight


Conclusion 


Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that occurs due to gene mutations. Cervical cancer is preventable through regular pap smear screening. Therefore, you should attend your appointments with the healthcare providers on time.


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