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Reproductive System Cancers – Check the Signs & Symptoms



Cancer is a life-threatening disease where the cells grow in an uncontrolled manner and start affecting the surrounding body tissues. The term cancer is named after the body organ it originates from. When cancer forms in the reproductive system, it is termed reproductive system cancer or gynaecological cancer in the case of female reproductive system cancer.

The term ‘gynaecological cancers’ refers here to a medical condition in which cancer or tumour cells start developing in the female reproductive system and its organs. Some common and rare gynaecological cancers include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.

Since all gynaecological or reproductive system cancers have specific signs and symptoms, the best way to treat them is to look out for their specific symptoms and seek consultation from a Gynaecologic Oncologist at the right time.

Here are some of the common and rare gynaecological cancer meanings and symptoms for awareness and prevention.


Common Gynaecological Cancers


Uterine Cancer


Uterine cancer, one of the most common types of cancer where cancer originates in the uterus. Though uterine cancer can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing uterine cancer like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, consumption of estrogen without progesterone, etc. Here are some common uterine cancer symptoms that you should be aware of:

  • Spotting or proper vaginal bleeding after menopause
  • Persistent lower abdominal pain that lasts for more than two weeks
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding between periods


Uterine cancers are further categorised into different types as endometrial cancers, uterine sarcomas, and endometrial stromal tumours. Out of the three, endometrial cancer is a common female reproductive system cancer while the other two are rare ones. Besides being common, endometrial cancer is the most curable of all too.

Since endometrial cancer can be easily diagnosed in the early ages and stages, there is only a minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic) required to treat it besides radiation therapy and chemotherapy in some cases.


Cervical Cancer


One of the primary causes of cancer-related deaths across the globe, cervical cancer is yet another common type of gynaecological cancer. It is unfortunate that despite a large number of women getting diagnosed with cervical cancer in India every year, only a few of them make it to the treatment. Lack of awareness around cervical cancer and inadequate cancer screening facilities in India are the reasons cancer gets detected when it has already reached advanced stages and gets challenging to treat.

Some of the cervical cancer symptoms include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal odour
  • Bleeding followed after sexual intercourse
  • Abnormal or scanty vaginal bleeding during periods or otherwise

A large number of cancers every year are caused due to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. Frequent cancer screenings and a PAP Smear Test for HPV detection are crucial steps in the early diagnosis of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer in its earlier stages is treatable by performing radical surgery while those cases detected in the advanced stages need a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.


Ovarian Cancer


One of the most common gynaecological cancers affecting millions of women worldwide, ovarian cancer has three types further: epithelial ovarian cancer, germ cell cancer, and stromal cell cancer. Out of the three, epithelial ovarian cancer is the most common one and accounts for the majority of ovarian cancer cases.

Here are some common and widely noticed ovarian cancer symptoms you should know of and keep a watch for:

  • Sudden and extreme onset of bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing or digesting
  • Extreme sudden weight loss without trying
  • Increased urination frequency or incontinence
  • Pain and discomfort in the pelvic/abdominal region


The epithelial ovarian cancer tumours can be both benign and malignant; while the former ones can be treated with surgery, the malignant ones require a tumour cytoreductive surgery along with chemotherapy. 


Rare Gynaecological Cancers


Vulvar Cancer


A rare form of cancer that affects the women’s external genitals, vulvar cancer is usually diagnosed in elder women. It has some clear signs and symptoms that are easy to notice and detect. Here they are:

  • Wart-like red, pink, or white bumps
  • Painful urination followed by a burning sensation
  • Bleeding that’s not menstrual
  • White or rough patch in the genital region that’s visible to the eye
  • An open sore or ulcer that’s persistent and doesn’t go away


Though rare, vulvar cancer is completely curable with radical surgery. In some cases, vulvar cancer treatment may require chemotherapy along with radical surgery.


Vaginal Cancer


Yet another rarest form of reproductive cancer, vaginal cancer mostly affects women over the age of 50. In most cases, an HPV infection is a cause of vaginal cancer. Here are some of the vaginal cancer symptoms you should be careful about:

  • An obvious mass in or around the vaginal area that’s visible to the eye
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding and discharge
  • Pain during and after sexual intercourse

Following a similar pattern as vulvar cancer, most vaginal cancers are treatable with radical surgery while only a few of them require additional chemotherapy.


When it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of gynaecological or female reproductive system cancers, you can place your trust in our expertise of gynaecologists and oncologists backed by state-of-the-art infrastructure for precision and advanced diagnostic and treatment services. Break the taboo and visit a gynaecologist for pre-cancer screening to nab the disease in time.

Medanta Medical Team
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