September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month! We're highlighting information specific to gynecologic cancer symptoms.
Spotting signs of cancer can lead to early diagnosis and can be easier to treat. In some cases, with early screening, abnormalities can be detected early enough to prevent the cancer from developing.
Signs and symptoms
Although they are often caused by a non-cancerous illness, it's important to be aware of any unexplained changes to your body.
The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
feeling constantly bloated
a swollen tummy
discomfort in your tummy or pelvic area
feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite
needing to pee more often or more urgently than usual
Uterine/endometrial (Womb) Cancer
Cancer of the womb (uterine or endometrial cancer) is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It's more common in women who have been through the menopause.
The most common symptom of womb cancer is vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you (abnormal).
If you've been through the menopause, any vaginal bleeding is considered abnormal.
If you have not yet been through the menopause, abnormal bleeding may include very heavy periods or bleeding between your periods.
Read more about the symptoms of womb cancer.
In most cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding is the first noticeable symptom of cervical cancer.
This includes bleeding:
during or after sex
between your periods
after you have been through the menopause
Visit your GP for advice if you experience any type of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Read more about the symptoms of cervical cancer.
If you have had any of these for longer than three weeks, or any symptoms not listed that you are concerned about, it’s important to speak to your GP.
Finding cancer early means it's easier to treat.
If your GP suspects cancer, they'll refer you to a specialist – usually within two weeks.
Symptoms of vaginal cancer include:
vaginal bleeding after the menopause
bleeding after sex or pain during sex
smelly or bloodstained vaginal discharge
bleeding between periods
a lump or mass in or at the entrance to the vagina
an itch in your vagina that will not go away
pain when peeing, or needing to pee a lot
Vaginal cancer is rare, especially in women under 40.
If you have these symptoms, it's much more likely you have something less serious, such as an infection.
Read more about the symptoms of vaginal cancer.
Symptoms of vulval cancer can include:
a persistent itch in the vulva
pain, soreness or tenderness in the vulva
raised and thickened patches of skin that can be red, white or dark
a lump or wart-like growth on the vulva
bleeding from the vulva or blood-stained vaginal discharge between periods
an open sore in the vulva
a burning pain when peeing
a mole on the vulva that changes shape or colour
See a GP if you notice any changes in the usual appearance of your vulva. While it's highly unlikely to be the result of cancer, these changes should be investigated.
Read more about the symptoms of vulvar cancer.
Visit the following websites for more information about gynecologic cancer: