Gynecological cancers develop in a woman’s reproductive organs: the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva. Each type of gynecological cancer is unique. Some are more common than others. Some are highly preventable, while others are usually found once they’ve reached advanced stages.
Call (855) 970-2527 or use our online Find a Doctor tool to connect with one of our experts in gynecological cancer prevention in Arizona. Our Chandler Regional Medical Center and the Dignity Health – Cancer Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center offer cancer screenings for women and other cancer resources, including counseling.
What Causes Ovarian Cancer & Other Gynecological Cancer?
In general, a woman’s risk of developing gynecological cancer increases with age. A family history of the cancer plays a role in some gynecological cancers, including ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a main risk factor for cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer.
Reducing Your Gynecological Cancer Risk
It is not possible to prevent all cases of gynecological cancer. However, you can still take steps to protect yourself. These strategies focus on early detection and changing risk factors that are under your control. They include:
- Avoiding HPV exposure. This means limiting your number of sexual partners and practicing safe sex.
- Getting an HPV vaccine. HPV infection is a main risk factor for three types of gynecological cancer. Getting an HPV vaccine eliminates your risk.
- Getting regular screening tests. Cervical cancer is the only gynecological cancer with a screening test to catch precancerous changes. It is the Pap test. Your doctor can also order an HPV test to see if you have HPV infection. This information can tell your doctor about your risk of developing an HPV-related cancer.
- Increasing the chance of early detection. This includes having annual pelvic exams and knowing the signs and symptoms of gynecological cancer. These vary for each type.
- Living a healthy lifestyle. Being physically active, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can decrease your overall risk of cancer.
- Using oral contraceptives. If this is an option for you, it may also help protect you against ovarian and endometrial cancer.
- Knowing your family medical history. Ask your parents and other family members about their history of cancer to determine if the disease may run in your family.
If you are concerned about gynecological cancer, talk with your doctor about your risks.
Dignity Health provides expert advice for gynecological cancer prevention in Arizona.