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Recognize Warning Signs to Prevent Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic cancers start in a woman’s reproductive organs. The five main types of gynecologic cancer are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.

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

Pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you. If you notice any unexplained symptoms, talk to your doctor right away.

Prevention and Screening

Some gynecologic cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection. A vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It’s recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls.

Of all the gynecologic cancers, only cervical cancer has a screening test—the Pap test—that can find this cancer early. It is especially important to recognize warning signs, and learn if there are things you can do to reduce your risk. If you have a low income or don’t have health insurance, you may qualify for a free or low-cost Pap test through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.

Learn more about gynecologic cancers.