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Gynecologic Cancer Awareness

Gynecologic cancers are cancers that start in a woman’s reproductive organs. The five main types are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.

Every year, more than 80,000 women in the United States are told they have a gynecologic cancer, and more than 25,000 women die from a gynecologic cancer. All women are at risk for gynecologic cancers, and risk increases with age.

Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer

CDC’s Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer campaign raises awareness about the five main types of gynecologic cancer: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. Inside Knowledge provides print materials, public service announcements (PSAs), and survivor stories in English and Spanish.

New PSAs and Posters

Photo of Cote de Pablo

The Inside Knowledge campaign welcomes Cote de Pablo. She appears in new PSAs and posters. The actress talks about what happened when she delayed getting screened for cervical cancer, and she has a message for other women. The PSAs and posters are available in English and Spanish. You can also go behind the scenes of the filming of these PSAs.

Inside Knowledge also has new English and Spanish TV and radio PSAs that focus on gynecologic cancer signs and symptoms. These “Are You Listening?” PSAs encourage women to listen to what their bodies are saying, and to learn the warning signs of gynecologic cancers.

Prevention and Screening

If you have vaginal bleeding that is unusual for you, see a doctor right away. If you notice any other unexplained signs or symptoms that last for two weeks or longer, talk to your doctor. When gynecologic cancers are found and treated early, treatment works best.

Diagram of the female genital tract depicting fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina, and vulva.

Some gynecologic cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted infection. A vaccine protects against the HPV types that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. While it is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls, the vaccine can be given to girls beginning at age 9 and to girls and women who are 13–26 years old who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. (The HPV vaccine also is recommended for boys and young men.)

Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that has a recommended screening test. The Pap test screens for cervical cancer and can find it early, when treatment works best. The Pap test also helps prevent cervical cancer by finding precancers, cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately. Women should start getting the Pap test at age 21.

The Pap test only checks for cervical cancer. It does not check for ovarian, uterine, vaginal, or vulvar cancers.

The HPV test looks for HPV infection. It may be used to screen women aged 30 years and older, or for women of any age who have unclear Pap test results. Learn more about the Pap and HPV tests.

Featured Resources

Gynecologic Cancer Comprehensive Brochure A comprehensive brochure provides in-depth information on each gynecologic cancer.

Ovarian cancer fact sheetInside Knowledge fact sheets provide basic information about each of the most common gynecologic cancers.

Gynecologic Cancer Symptoms Diary Use this diary to track any symptoms you notice over a two-week period.

Cote de Pablo poster Posters feature actress Cote de Pablo, gynecologic cancer survivors, and symptoms of the five main gynecologic cancers.

Are you listening? public service announcementVideos offer important information about gynecologic cancers.

CDC Vital Signs The “Cervical Cancer is Preventable!” podcast explains how to help prevent cervical cancer.