Dr. Sharyn Lewin Explains Symptoms of Gynecological Cancers
An estimated 100,000 women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancers every year—one every seven minutes. More than 200,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer. Joanna Gagis gets important information from Dr. Sharyn Lewin , Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Holy Name Medical Center, about the symptoms and prevention that women of all ages need to know about.
"Welcome back to Life & Living. Some staggering statistics. Every seven minutes, a woman is diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer. It's about 100,000 a year. And over 200,000 a year are diagnosed with breast cancer. Here to talk about prevention and treatment is Doctor Sharyn Lewin, Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Holy Name Medical Center. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me. We don't often... you know, breast cancer gets a lot of attention. The gynecologic cancers are not always as often talked about. Why is that? I think women sometimes feel it's a little taboo to talk about that part of the body. It's, you know, not as common as breast cancer. But it's so important, because it's something that can really be prevented, and prevention and early screening are just so important. What are... there are five types of gynecologic cancers? What are they? That's correct. Ovarian, uterine, cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. What are the symptoms? We know that very often these women find them late. But what are the symptoms that we can be looking for? That we should be looking for? That's an excellent question. So it's really important that women see their gynecologist every year. There was just a study published last year that showed women are more likely to see their hairdresser, go for their eye exams, than actually to see their gynecologist. So it's very important that women do go once a year for the annual exam. Is that before the child rearing years? And after the child rearing years? That's correct. All together, women definitely need to see their gynecologist once a year. You know, women may not need a pap smear every year, but they definitely need to go for a pelvic exam, and to talk about cancer prevention. So if women had any change in their menstrual cycles, so if they have any heavier bleeding, and irregular bleeding, those are all signs to worry about. Certainly any bleeding after menopause, when women have stopped having their periods, if there's any pain in the pelvis, difficulty with urination, feeling full too quickly, or any bleeding after intercourse, those are some of the common signs and symptoms that women may experience. Some of those signs could easily be passed over? They could easily be dismissed as something else. A sign of eating bad food. Or possibly, you know, being tired and run down. So is it really important that we tune in and even be overcareful? I think being very vigilant is important, and also being an advocate is really important as well too..."