Back and pelvic pain could indicate a gynaecological cancer – expert

Lisa Maffia discusses her 'cervical cancer' diagnosis

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Gynaecological cancers refer to cancers that start in the female reproductive system. These include ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and vulval cancer among others. As with any disease, the sooner you spot the symptoms the sooner you can seek medical help.

According to an expert some seemingly innocuous pains and changes in our bodies could be a sign of something more serious.

Speaking with, Valentina Milanova – the founder of gynaecological health company Daye – shared some of the symptoms to be wary of.

She explained that “back and pelvic pain or pressure” are symptoms of gynaecological cancers.

“Many women do have early warning signs,” she said.

She listed other signs as:

  • Feeling bloated and full really soon after eating
  • Experiencing spotting/bleeding between periods, post menopause and after intercourse
  • Pain and pressure during urination
  • Itching, burning, pain, swelling or tenderness of the vulva
  • Unusual, heavy vaginal discharge
  • The urgent need to urinate or urinating more often than usual.

Ms Milanova also dispelled some “common” misconceptions about gynaecological cancers, including the significance of smear tests.

“The only gynaecological cancer that a Pap (smear) test can detect is cervical cancer, it cannot identify any of the other four gynaecological cancers,” she said.

“You don’t need to have symptoms to get screened.

“Even if you don’t have any concerns, it’s incredibly important that women go for regular cervical screening.

“Women aged 25 to 49 will get a reminder from the NHS every three years to make an appointment and women aged 50 to 64 will get a reminder every five years.”

She explained more about cervical cancer.

“Unlike breast cancer and ovarian cancer, cervical cancer is not hereditary,” she said.

“It is caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

“HPV must be present for cervical cancer to develop.

“There are various strains of HPV and the most common types can be prevented with a vaccine.

“If detected early, HPV can be treated to prevent cervical cancer.

“The Pap test and the HPV test can detect precancerous conditions, leading to early treatment.”

The five gynaecological cancers are:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Vulval cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Womb cancer.

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