The month of September is Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. The term “gynecological cancer” describes a group of cancers including endometrial (uterine) cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer, among other rare types.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be more important than ever for women to brush up on their health IQ to help stay ahead of gynecological health issues. The more you know could potentially save your life one day.
The pandemic vs. women’s health
Dr. Jeffrey Hines, Chief of the Division of Wellstar Gynecologic Oncology, said the pandemic caused many women to skip important cervical cancer and breast cancer screenings.
The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), an independent, non-profit research institute found women’s health services were significantly affected in 2020 compared with 2019:
- HPV vaccines that prevent cervical cancer were down by 75%
- Mammograms and Pap smears that identify breast and cervical cancer in earlier, more treatable stages were down by nearly 80%
Unfortunately, women are already experiencing the consequences.
“There’s an uptick in cancer diagnoses with more advanced disease,” Dr. Hines said. “It’s so important that women realize that it’s safe to go to their providers to get their mammograms and Paps.”