From puberty through menopause, a woman’s reproductive organs are constantly changing through the normal processes of sexual activity, pregnancy and aging, and sometimes disease and injury. There are five main gynecological cancers cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar and screening is recommended only for cervical cancer. Most women don’t know the signs of gynecological cancers, and are especially unaware of symptoms unrelated to the reproductive organs, such as back pain and increased urination. Therefore, early detection may depend on women recognizing the symptoms and when they seek help.
Cancer occurs when old cells do not die when they should or are damaged. Normally, the body repairs or destroys such cells. Sometimes, these cells may grow out of control. This causes growths or tumors to form. Tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy healthy tissues and organs. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body and form new tumors. The risk of cancer can be inherited in a person’s genes. In some cases, cancer can be caused by being exposed to a harmful substance such as a virus, certain chemicals, or radiation. Sometimes more than one cause is involved.
Gynecological cancers including 5 main cancers occurring in the female reproductive system: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar are most likely to occur in women. Today, they have become a serious concern. *Uterine (womb) cancer is now the fourth most common cancer among Singaporean women (it held eight position a decade ago). Ovarian cancer is the fifth and cervical cancer is the tenth most common cancers respectively. These rankings paint a stark but realistic picture.
Cancer Trend Report(Source: Singapore Cancer Registry – Interim Annual Registry Report, 2009 -2013)
Cervical Cancer: An Overview
Singapore Healthy Promotion Board: Health Screening Guidelines
Ovarian Cancer: An Overview
Top Female Cancers
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
Cervical Cancer: Common Myths
Women Against Gynaecological Cancers