Detection And Prevention

Talk with your patients about these risk factors for gynecologic cancer.

Finding a gynecologic cancer early, when it’s most treatable, is the best defense. Women can also take action to lower their risk of some cancers. 

Who’s At Risk For Gynecologic Cancer? 

Risk factors for gynecologic cancer vary depending on the cancer type. They range from advanced age and whether they ever given birth, to early onset of menstrual periods and use of certain hormone replacement therapies. Ethnicity can also play a role. 

If your patient has a strong history of certain cancers in their family, she may be at higher risk for a specific gynecologic cancer and benefit from genetic testing

Lower The Risk 

Cancer screenings continue to detect many cancers at their earliest stages. While the Pap test is the gold standard for detecting cervical cancer, screenings for other gynecologic cancers typically are not recommended for women of average risk. 

Screening Guidelines 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) currently recommends:  

  • Younger than 21: no screenings 
  • 21 to 29: cytology only q 3 years 
  • 30 to 65: co-test (HPV and cytology) q 5 years OR cytology alone q 3 years 
  • Over 65: no screening recommended 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) currently recommends:  

  • Younger than 25: no screenings  
  • 25 to 65: primary HPV test every 5 years. If primary HPV testing is not available, screening may be done with either a co-test that combines an HPV test with a Papanicolaou (Pap) test every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. 

Women can lower their risk for gynecologic cancer in general by: 

  • Scheduling regular well-woman check-ups 
  • Getting their Pap test at the recommended screening ages 
  • Getting vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV) 
  • Discussing the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy with their doctor 
  • Tuning in to their body for changes, especially unusual spotting or bleeding not related to menstrual periods 
  • Reporting unusual symptoms or body changes to their doctor immediately 
  • Engaging in safe sex practices 
  • Knowing her family history of cancer 

These healthy choices can also help you lower your overall cancer risk: 

  • Limit red meat and eat a low-fat diet 
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink a day or less 
  • Exercise moderately at least 150 minutes a week 
  • Maintain a healthy weight 
  • Don’t smoke 

Contact Us

Premier Health offers an extensive network of experienced cancer specialists, close to home, who welcome your referrals. Find a cancer specialist best suited to your patient’s unique needs.