What are the symptoms of gynecologic cancers?

Shelley C. Giebel, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Bleeding between periods or during the menopause could be a sign of cancer.  Over 80% of endometrial (lining of the uterus) cancers bleed.  A palpable mass in the breast or pelvis should be evaluated by a physician urgently.
Some symptoms may be mild or absent.  Changes in weight, a belt that doesn't fit right, or bowel changes could be symptoms of cancer.  Use your judgement, see a physician urgently if you feel it is warranted. 
Finally, an annual check-up is important to discuss those vague symptoms that might not seem to be important, but could be.  Get a calendar and write down symptoms to see if there is a pattern.  A mild symptom could be the piece of the puzzle that helps your physician find a cancer early.

The symptoms of gynecologic cancers can vary depending on the type of gynecologic cancer involved. Vaginal cancer can cause unexplained bleeding, pain, and the growth of lumps or tumors. Ovarian cancer may cause feelings of bloating in the abdomen, pain in the pelvic region, and an increased need to urinate. Gynecologic cancers can also have vague symptoms, such as loss of appetite, low back pain, low energy levels, and digestive problems.

Continue Learning about Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic cancers occur when abnormal cells form in the tissues of the female reproductive system, which includes the cervix, uterus and ovaries.Six common types of cancers affect women: breast, cervical, uterine, ovarian, vagin...

al and vulvar. See your gynecologist if you notice vaginal bleeding, have unusual vaginal discharge, feel pelvic pain or have pain while having sex. Gynecologic cancers can grow slowly or quickly, depending on where tumors grow in our bodies. Although some precancerous cells take years to turn cancerous, an annual test called a Pap smear can help detect changes in your cervix. Schedule an annual exam with your gynecologist today, and always check your breasts monthly for unusual lumps. If these cancers are not caught early, aggressive treatments may be needed, such as removal of parts of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are also commonly used to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.