This Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month, we’re discussing the common symptoms of the five gynae cancers that women should be aware of.
Gynaecological cancer is a type of cancer that affects women’s reproductive system. This group of cancers includes ovarian, cervical, uterine/womb, vaginal and vulval cancers.
Unfortunately, many symptoms of these cancers can go unnoticed or are ignored for a long time. However, early detection and treatment can improve the chances of a positive outcome.
If you are concerned about anything or believe you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, please make an appointment with your GP.
Ovarian cancer develops in the ovaries- a small pair of organs on either side of the uterus in which eggs are produced. Common signs of ovarian cancer include:
• Bloating or discomfort in the lower abdomen
• Persistent abdominal bloating
• Feeling full quickly or having difficulty eating
• Frequent need to urinate
• Pelvic or abdominal pain and back pain that doesn’t go away
Cervical cancer starts in the cervix- the lower part of the uterus. It is mostly caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). It is important that you go for your cervical screening appointments; these can help identify any abnormalities early before anything develops. Symptoms of cervical cancer include:
• Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex
• Abnormal vaginal discharge
• Pain during sex
• Pelvic pain that lasts for weeks
Uterine cancer develops in the uterus, which is the hollow, muscular organ where a foetus grows during pregnancy. Symptoms of uterine cancer include:
• Heavy vaginal bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge
• Pain during sexual intercourse
• Pain in the pelvic region
• Feeling of fullness and pressure in the lower abdomen
• Weight loss
Vaginal cancer develops in the vagina- the tube-like structure that connects the cervix to the outer parts of the female genitalia. Symptoms of vaginal cancer include:
• Bleeding after sex
• Bleeding between periods or after menopause
• Vaginal discharge that may be yellow or grey
• Pain during sex
Vulval cancer starts in the vulva- the outer part of the female genitalia. Symptoms of vulval cancer include:
• Itching, burning, or pain in the vulva
• Changes in the colour or texture of the vulvar skin
• Thickening of the skin around the vulva
• Bleeding or discharge that is not menstrual period-related
Early detection and treatment can increase the chances of positive outcomes. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of gynaecological cancer is essential. So, if you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Although some of these symptoms may not necessarily point to cancer, it is always best to have them checked by a doctor to ensure your health and well-being. Remember, knowledge is power, and prevention is always better than cure.
Contact your private GP to make an appointment if you’re worried.
Not a member? Find out more about our membership options by calling 0333 050 7338, or visit our memberships page by clicking here.