Awareness can end taboo topic of gynecological cancer
When cancer starts in a woman’s reproductive organs, it’s called gynecologic cancer, but many people don’t know about it because talking about gynecological organs and the associated cancers can be a taboo topic.
“There's not an awareness of these types of cancer,” says Gina Westhoff, M.D. of Legacy Medical Group–Gynecological Oncology. “Without awareness, people aren't thinking about these cancers, looking for symptoms or detecting them early.”
The five main types of gynecologic cancer are: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. The only screening test available is a Pap smear for cervical cancer.
“The best thing we can do is help people understand the symptoms for these cancers, encourage them to be aware of their bodies and then seek out a doctor if symptoms persist or get worse,” says Dr. Westhoff. Knowing one’s family history of cancers is also important. “Awareness and being open about gynecologic cancers can save lives.”
You can help raise awareness in September by participating in any of the following events:
o Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center – September 26-28
o Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center – September 27-29