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Gynecologic Cancers

Overview

About Gynecologic Cancers

Five main types of cancer affect a woman's reproductive organs: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. As a group, they are referred to as gynecologic cancers. 2013 estimates from the National Cancer Institute indicate that:

  • 91,730 women in the United States were diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer.1
  • 28,080 women in the United States died from a gynecologic cancer.1

2013 estimates by disease

What Is Gynecologic Cancer?

Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman's reproductive organs. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts. Gynecologic cancers begin in different places within a woman's pelvis, which is the area below the stomach and in between the hip bones.

reproductive organsCervical cancer begins in the cervix, which is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. (The uterus is also called the womb.)

Ovarian cancer begins in the ovaries, which are located on each side of the uterus.

Uterine cancer begins in the uterus, the pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis where the baby grows when a woman is pregnant.

Vaginal cancer begins in the vagina, which is the hollow, tube-like channel between the bottom of the uterus and the outside of the body.

Vulvar cancer begins in the vulva, the outer part of the female genital organs.

Each gynecologic cancer is unique, with different signs and symptoms, different risk factors, and different prevention strategies. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and risk increases with age, however, when found early, treatment is most effective.

1 2013 National Cancer Institute Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/statistics

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