Routine screening is the most effective way to prevent gynecological cancer.
The most effective way to be protected from gynecological cancers and to get the desired result from the treatment, which is the fearful dream of women, is not to be late for diagnosis! Early diagnosis is only possible with appropriate screenings. For this reason, it is vital that annual gynecological examinations, ultrasound, pap smear test, post-menopausal biopsies when necessary, and tumor markers of those with familial risk are closely followed. Head of Gynecology and Obstetrics Department Assoc. Dr. Ömer Nicat Çobanoğlu emphasized that early diagnosis is the most important factor in the prevention and effective treatment of gynecological cancers and warned:
The most effective prevention is early detection
The most common genital system cancers in women; cancer of the uterus (endometrium), cervix (cervix), ovary (ovary), external genital organs (vulva) and chamber (vagina) cancer. Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer in women after breast, lung and colorectal cancer, and ranks first among gynecological cancers. Cancers of the vagina and external genitalia; It constitutes two percent and five percent of all female genital tract cancers. Although it ranks third in incidence, ovarian cancer is the first cause of death. Unfortunately 60% of all ovarian cancer cases can be detected in the advanced stages of the disease.
At least once a year gynecological examination is a must against cervical cancer!
In all gynecological cancers, the most appropriate treatment model should be applied to the patient. For this too The stage of the disease must be accurately determined.. Correct staging not only ensures that the patient receives the most accurate primary treatment, but also ensures that the patient remains on the right medical platform in terms of the course and follow-up of the disease. Thanks to staging, it is possible to apply the correct protocol in treatment. Accurate staging can also ensure the level and adequacy of the surgical approach, as well as protecting the patient from an unnecessary aggressive radical approach.
Correct staging is essential
- The methods used in staging and in the follow-up of the effectiveness of the treatments applied, in the detection of distant metastases, and in the early observations of relapses are of great importance. For this, imaging methods such as CT, MRI and PET are widely used.
- Surgical approach, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or immunobiological options are used in the treatment of gynecological cancers. In treatment, it is important to make the right decision which option or which ones will be used primarily.
The surgeon must be experienced
Surgical approach; It includes a wide spectrum starting from choosing the right incision (incision) to laparoscopic intervention, robotic surgery, radical surgery and pelvic exenteration. In the surgical approach, there is a need for gynecologist oncologists and experienced centers with different knowledge, skills and experience than in routine gynecological operations. Cancer surgery should be performed by such teams and in centers with adequate infrastructure.
Risk factors in gynecological cancers
Gynecological cancers have their own criteria for risks:
- In cervical cancer; Early-onset sexual activity, multiple partner relationships, HPV (Human papilloma virus) infection are the leading causes of increased risk. In addition, the increased number of births and smoking habits increase the likelihood of cervical cancer.
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- In endometrial cancer; onset of premature cyclical bleeding, advanced menopausal age (52 years and later), infertility and infertility (increases 3 times), unrequited before and after the menopausal period (The use of estrogen (without progesterone) (which increases it sixfold), overweight (obesity) and diabetes are cited as important risk factors.
Drinkers are at risk!
- In ovarian cancer, the density in the genetic profile (the presence of ovarian, endometrium and breast cancer in the familial history), smoking, infertility, presence of genetic mutations, and powder use increase the incidence.
- In vaginal and vulva cancers, the role of HPV comes to the fore.
Maintain your ideal weight, be careful if it is in the family
Paying attention to some factors and taking precautions in the prevention of gynecological cancers does not prevent these diseases completely, but it is beneficial:
- The benefit of HPV vaccines in cervical cancer is undisputed. In addition to the triple and quadruple combination vaccines in use, the nine combined HPV vaccines have been used in the USA since 2015. In addition, avoiding cigarette consumption, diets containing B vitamins, B (beta) and folate reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
- In the prevention of endometrial cancer; Maintaining an ideal body weight, avoiding excessive fatty foods and avoiding the use of unrequited estrogen stand out as the first measures to be implemented.
- In ovarian cancer; In women with a risky familial profile and genetic mutations (BRCA1, BRCA2), preventive surgery is effective by removing the tubes and ovaries after fertility is completed.
10 golden rules of cancer prevention
The right diagnosis must be made at the right time.
Although factors such as nutrition and lifestyle are important in the prevention of gynecological cancers, the most important prevention and treatment method is early diagnosis! Detection of the disease at an early stage is vital. However, cancer-related deaths can be prevented thanks to diagnoses at the curable stage. Diagnosis of female genital tract cancers at an early stage is only possible with appropriate screenings:
- In addition to annual gynecological examination and pelvic ultrasonography, cervical cytological examination (pap smear) should be performed.
- Bleeding that occurs after menopause, independent of its color and amount, should be examined, and if necessary, endometrial biopsies (which enable the detection of endometrial cancer at an early stage) should be performed.
- Due to the high risk of ovarian cancer in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations; Tumor markers such as CA 125, CA 19-9, alpha photoprotein, CEA should be followed closely with 6-month and annual transvaginal ultrasonography.
These scans save lives regardless of radiation!
Thanks to outpatient examinations at the polyclinic level and not being exposed to radioactive effects, it is possible to have the following routine scans easily:
- Routine genital examination and transvaginal ultrasound
- Cervicovaginal cytological examination (pap smear)
- HPV screening and typing
- Colposcopic observation and colposcopic biopsies
- Endometrial biopsy