In recent years, most cervical cancers have become completely preventable with a vaccine, and there are screening tests to identify it early. However, it’s important for women to understand the warning signs of gynecological cancers which don’t have screening tests, such as:
• Endometrial (uterine) cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Vaginal cancer
• Vulvar cancer
• Other rare types
Lower your risk for gynecological cancer
At your annual women’s health appointment, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your family history and lifestyle choices that can make a positive impact on your health. Here are some ideas to consider lowering your risk for different types of gynecological cancer:
- Share your family history with your healthcare provider. Women with a family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or other specific cancer types may benefit from a CA 125 test, which can find early signs of ovarian cancer, or genetic risk assessment, which looks for hereditary gene mutations that increase an individual’s risk for ovarian cancer.
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. Women who are overweight have a higher risk of being diagnosed with the most common type of endometrial (uterine) cancer – and for the cancer to return after treatment. This is a challenge for many people and your health providers want you to feel empowered – not embarrassed – to discuss your BMI, nutrition, weight reduction and wellness.
- Stay tobacco-free or quit tobacco. Again, many health providers can help women with education and resources to quit smoking or vaping for the long haul. Quitting tobacco can reduce your risk for some gynecological cancers and many other health conditions.