Featured Video: Gynecologic Cancer Awareness


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Everyone with female reproductive organs is at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates about 109,000 new cases diagnosed and approximately 33,000 deaths from gynecologic cancers in the U.S. each year.

Gynecologic cancers are the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells originating in the female reproductive organs, including the cervix, ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, vagina and vulva.

There are many factors that cause gynecologic cancers. Medical research has discovered that some classes of genes, called oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, promote the growth of cancer. The abnormal function of these genes can be acquired—e.g., through smoking, aging, environmental influences—or inherited. Almost all cervical cancers and some cancers of the vagina and vulva are caused by a virus known as HPV, or Human Papillomavirus.

Screening and self-examinations conducted regularly can result in the detection of certain types of gynecologic cancers in their earlier stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful and a complete cure is a possibility.

Gynecologic cancers should be treated by a specialist with advanced training and demonstrated competence, such as a gynecologic oncologist. Gynecologic cancers are treated by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The choice of therapy(s) depends on the type and stage of the cancer.

Diet, exercise and lifestyle choices play a significant role in the prevention of cancer. Additionally, knowledge of family history can increase the chance of prevention or early diagnosis by determining if someone may have a gene which makes them susceptible to cancer.

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