Brinkmann Gynaecology

Gynaecology cancer - fast facts

The five gynaecological cancers start in the female reproductive system – ovarian, cervical, womb, vulva and vagina.

  • Most are found in women over 50, apart from cervical cancer which is most common between 30 to 45 years of age. Cervical cancer is very rare in women under 25 years but can occur and the incidence of other gynaecological cancers in women under 50 has been rising. 

  • Awareness of gynaecological cancers is very low and some can be difficult for the patient to spot or doctors to diagnose because they share their symptoms with other common conditions.

  • Endometrial cancer has recently become the most common gynaecological cancer, largely because the population is getting heavier.

  • One third of all cancers are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices. Obesity and smoking are high risk factors for a number of gynaecological cancers and cervical cancer is largely preventable through screening and early treatment.

  • Cervical cancer is the only gynaecological cancer with a national screening programme. Cervical screening (the smear test) is available to women from their mid-twenties to mid-sixties.

Reduce your risk of gynaecological cancers

  • Have the HPV vaccine, which protects against the virus that can cause cervical, vaginal and vulval cancers. It does not protect against all types of HPV (human papilloma virus) so it is still important to attend cervical screening from the age of 25.

  • Schedule a smear test, which will decrease your risk of cervical cancer by 90 percent. But smear tests don’t screen for cancers of the ovary, uterus or fallopian tubes so it’s important to be aware of any other unusual changes to your body. 

  • Being attuned to cancer’s warning signs helps detect disease in its early stages so take action early when treatment will be more successful.

  • See the right doctor – more than 60 percent of women diagnosed with gynaecological cancers are treated by the wrong doctor. Gynaecological oncologists are more specialised than general gynaecologists to care for women with reproductive cancers. They use the newest, most effective treatments, including keyhole and robotic surgery, resulting in significantly higher cure rates and reducing the impact of surgery on patients 

  • Enjoy a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking.

  • You could have an increased risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer if there is a history of cancer in your family. Talk to your doctor to find out what can be done. 

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