Updated
December 10th, 2019

A Better Understanding Helps Prevent Gynecologic Cancers

Gynecologic cancers include HPV related cancers cervical, vulvar, and vaginal

women working on a project together

‘The first step in gynecological cancer prevention is knowing your family history,’ said Gizelka David-West, M.D., an oncologist.

This advice is very important since ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers with no screening tool.

Gynecological cancers are those that develop in a woman’s reproductive tract.

Each type of gynecological cancer has different symptoms, some of which may be difficult to recognize.

Moreover, about 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases are due to genetic mutations, with BRCA mutations accounting for many of those cases, said this Oncology Nursing News article, published on November 29, 2019. 

Excerpts from this article are below:

‘Besides ovarian cancer, the list of gynecologic cancers includes 3 that fall into the category of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers: cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.

With the development of the HPV vaccine, we can prevent these cancers and have the potential to eradicate them.

It seems like a no-brainer to have your patients understand this treatment and get vaccinated. 

Not only does the vaccine prevent these cancers, but it also prevents and can help treat dysplasia, a pre-cancer that transforms into cancer of these organs if left untreated,’ said Dr. David-West.

There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other health problems, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an online statement during August 2019.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, with about 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, infected with HPV.

Cancer often takes years, even decades, to develop after a person gets HPV.

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You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems.

People with weak immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS, are less able to fight off HPV.

You also can develop symptoms years after you have sex with someone who is infected. This makes it hard to know when you first became infected.

There are many different types of HPV, about 120 variations. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower.

Approximately 90 percent of these HPV cancers could be prevented by the routine administration of the Gardasil 9 vaccine, says the CDC. 

And the CDC recently extended this cancer-prevention vaccine for older individuals.

On June 26, 2019, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to recommend the HPV vaccination for most men and women through age 45.

ACOG, The American College of Obstreticians and Gynecologists, has a complete list of well woman screening recommendations that are age adjusted.

Since late 2016, Gardasil 9 has been the only HPV vaccine available for use in the USA.

HPV vaccine news is published by Vax-Before-Cancer.