Gynecologic Cancer Awareness

What to know

Learn the symptoms of cancers that start in a woman’s reproductive organs and how to lower your risk.


two women
Learn how to lower your risk for cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

Gynecologic cancers are cancers of women’s reproductive organs. The five main types are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer.

Under the Paper Gown

Comedy host Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey created a series of videos empowering women to speak up confidently at the gynecologist.

What are the symptoms?

These could be symptoms of a gynecologic cancer:

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding, like having longer or heavier periods than normal or bleeding after you've gone through menopause.
  • Pelvic pain or pressure that doesn't go away.
  • Feeling too full, too fast, even when you eat just a little.

It is important to pay attention to your body and know what is normal for you, so you can recognize the symptoms of gynecologic cancer. If you notice anything unusual and it goes on for 2 weeks or longer, see a doctor.

How can I lower my risk?

You can lower your risk for some gynecologic cancers with a vaccine and screening tests.

  • Some gynecologic cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus. The HPV vaccine can help prevent cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.
  • Cervical cancer is the only gynecologic cancer that has recommended screening tests. The Pap test (or Pap smear) and HPV test can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early.

If you have a family history of breast, ovarian, uterine, or colorectal cancer, you may have a higher risk for developing these cancers. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk.

Featured resources

  • Her cousin's questions about her aunt's death from ovarian cancer prompted Dr. Temeika Fairley to collect her family cancer history.
  • This video discusses the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancer.