The Most Common Gynecologic Cancers and Their Symptoms

May 30, 2024 | Blog

Thanks to advancements in women’s gynecological health (like the Pap smear), we can now detect and treat cervical cancer far earlier than we could in the past. But this is only one type of gynecologic cancer, and understanding the full scope of this group of cancers and their symptoms is a good practice for being proactive about your health.

To help you stay informed and vigilant, we’re sharing the most prevalent gynecological cancers and their warning signs.

The Most Common Gynecological Cancers

Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that begins in the female reproductive organs. There are five types: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar. Within the last ten years, uterine cancer has become the most common gynecologic cancer. Also referred to as endometrial or womb cancer, this type affects the uterine lining and accounts for nearly half of all gynecologic cancers in high-income countries. Ovarian cancer is the second-most common, making up a quarter of cases, followed by cervical cancer, which makes up 19%. Vaginal and vulvar cancer make up a combined seven percent of gynecologic cancer cases.

Most Common Gynecologic Cancers’ Symptoms

Some gynecologic cancers share symptoms. For instance, abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge could occur with any gynecologic cancer, except vulvar. With these factors in mind, here are some more specific symptoms to watch for.


Aside from vaginal bleeding between periods, the most common signs of uterine cancer include lower abdominal pain or cramping in the pelvis. Symptoms may be different if you’ve experienced menopause or you’re over 40: be on the lookout for clear or white discharge, as well as extremely heavy or prolonged bleeding.


Like many other gynecologic cancers, ovarian cancer may be characterized by pelvic or abdominal pain. It can also lead to persistent bloating, so take note if you feel bloated regardless of what or when you’re eating. Other digestive issues may occur, such as feeling full quickly or having trouble eating. Finally, urinary symptoms like urgent or frequent urination can also be signs of ovarian cancer.


In its early stages, cervical cancer typically doesn’t present symptoms. Pap tests can often detect the disease even in precancerous stages, but you can still watch for symptoms of more advanced cervical cancer. Again, unusual discharge or bleeding could point to this type, as well as pain in your pelvic region or discomfort during sex. More advanced cervical cancers can present symptoms such as difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement.

Vaginal & Vulvar

While the rarest types, the signs of vaginal and vulvar cancers are still worth knowing. Vaginal cancer can cause unusual discharge or bleeding, while vulvar cancer is marked by visible changes to your vulva, or itching and burning that doesn’t go away.

There are many possible causes of unusual gynecologic symptoms, which is why it’s important to see a women’s health specialist if something is going on with any part of your reproductive health. From normal hormone changes to more serious issues, our gynecology management services can support you through any women’s health challenge that comes your way. To schedule an appointment, use our online form or call our office at 770-487-9604.

Latest Posts

Our Tips for Managing Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Our Tips for Managing Preeclampsia During Pregnancy

Being pregnant brings on an abundance of bodily changes, many of which are perfectly normal. But it also includes the potential for complications, which is part of the reason you’ll frequently see your practitioner for monitoring. Preeclampsia is one example of the...

The Influence of Diet and Nutrition on Reproductive Health

The Influence of Diet and Nutrition on Reproductive Health

The foods we eat have a far-reaching impact on our body’s inner workings, and our reproductive system is no exception. If you’re trying to get pregnant, understanding the relationship between food and fertility can be helpful in your journey of trying to conceive....

Exercise and Fitness Tips After Pregnancy

Exercise and Fitness Tips After Pregnancy

After your body has grown and birthed a human, you’ll need ample time to rest and heal. Whether you’ve delivered vaginally or via C-section, afterward your uterus will have an eight-and-a-half-inch wound – roughly the size of a dinner plate – left behind from your...