The 5 Gynaecological Cancers you need to be aware of…

20th September 2021

Awareness of the 5 gynaecological cancers is very low despite 21,000 women receiving a diagnosis each year. As with many cancers, early diagnosis is key so it is important women are aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for and to know what’s normal for them.

At The Surrey Park Clinic we offer Well Woman checksCervical Screening and Ovarian Cancer screening. You can find out more about these tests by following the links and you can book these on-line or by calling 01483 454 016. As September is Gynae Cancer Awareness Month, we are offering 10% off our Well Woman and Ovarian Cancer Screening checks for bookings made in September.

Ovarian Cancer

Otherwise known as the silent killer, ovarian cancer is sadly often diagnosed at a late stage which is why awareness of symptoms is critical to ensure this cancer is caught early.

Ovarian cancer affects around 7,500 women a year. It is the abnormal growth and division of cells in the ovary and the tumour can spread to other areas of the abdomen. Recent research has highlighted that ovarian cancer is likely to start in the fallopian tubes.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer:

The main symptoms of ovarian cancer are fairly vague and non-specific but do watch out for:

  • Struggling to eat and feeling full more quickly
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain felt over a period of time
  • A change in bladder habits
  • Post menopausal bleeding

If you have any of these symptoms, please do see your GP or book into to see our consultant gynaecologist. At The Surrey Park Clinic, we offer ovarian cancer screening. Our Consultant Gynaecologist will discuss your medical history, conduct a trans-vaginal scan to assess the ovaries and also do CA125, CEA, Ca19-9 blood tests.

Who is at risk?

  • Women with a family history of Ovarian cancer and or related cancers such as breast, bowel and endometrial cancer
  • Women with an inherited BRCA gene mutation
  • As there is increasing awareness of Ovarian cancer, many women simply wish to have the reassurance of having their ovaries checked, especially if they have a friend who has developed the disease

More information on Ovarian Cancer:

Vulval Cancer

Vulval Cancer fortunately is quite a rare cancer and tends to affect women over 65 years. In order to be vigilant, it is important to know what your vulva “normally” looks like. We advise using a mirror to get to know the appearance of your vulva and check this on a regular basis to see if there are any changes.

Symptoms of Cancer of the Vulva:

  • 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

What Causes Vulval Cancer?

The exact cause of vulval cancer is unclear, but the following factors may increase your risk of developing the condition:

  • increasing age
  • vulval intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN) – where the cells in the vulva are abnormal and at risk of turning cancerous
  • persistent infection with certain versions of the human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • skin conditions affecting the vulva, such as lichen sclerosus
  • smoking

Our Consultant Gynaecologist, Mr Jay Chatterjee, gives an overview of Vulval Cancer:

 

Womb/Uterine Cancer

This is the most common gynaecological cancer which affects a woman’s reproductive system. It tends to be more common amongst post-menopausal women.

Symptoms of womb cancer:

  • any abnormal bleeding during your usual cycle
  • any bleeding post menopause

What causes womb cancer?

It is not always clear why womb cancer occurs but there are factors which may increase your risk of developing it. If you have high levels of oestrogen in your body you may have a higher risk. Obesity can create higher levels of oestrogen and there may also be a slight higher risk from long term use of tamoxifen.

Our Consultant Gynaecologist, Mr Jay Chatterjee, shares an overview of womb cancer:

 

Cervical Cancer

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is one of the few cancers that is highly preventable. This is because dangerous pre-cancerous cell changes can be picked up in a Cervical screening, and any abnormal cells can be removed before they develop into cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under 35 years and causes approximately 1,000 deaths per year in the UK. Most cervical cancers are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

What Are The Symptoms of Cervical Cancer?

Symptoms include:

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding during or after sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding at any time if you are past Menopause
  • Vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant
  • Discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse

How do I Reduce my risk of Cervical Cancer?

Ensuring you are up to date with your Cervical screening appointments are the best way to reduce your risk of Cervical cancer. Research suggests that Cervical screenings (smear test and HPV testing) save around 1,000 lives every year. At The Surrey Park Clinic we offer a cervical screening service – find out more here.

HPV vaccines are also now available. Human papillomavirus vaccines are vaccines that prevent infection by certain types of human papillomavirus. Available HPV vaccines protect against either two, four, or nine types of HPV. All HPV vaccines protect against at least HPV types 16 and 18, which cause the greatest risk of cervical cancer.

 

Mr Jay Chatterjee gives an overview of Cervical Cancer:

 

Vaginal Cancer

Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer affecting the vagina, the tube leading from the cervix (neck of the womb) to the vulva.

What are the symptoms of vaginal cancer?

  • 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 very rare for women under 40 but if you are experiencing symptoms, please do seek medical advice as early diagnosis is key.