Not just breast cancer:
but ovarian and uterine too.
Breast cancer is by far the most common form of cancer in women, but the female reproductive organs can be affected by cancer too.
The cervix (the entrance to the womb) is the canal that joins the uterus to the vagina.
In Italy, cervical cancer affects 3,500 women every year: 99.7% of cases are caused by a persistent infection from the human Papilloma virus (HPV). Only one out of thousand affected women in developed countries doesn’t make it; the high number of recoveries is due largely to
screening and early diagnosis:
- Smear test: analysis of the cervical cells to find anomalies that could indicate a malignant transformation.
- HPV DNA test: search in the DNA of the virus in the cervical cells.
Primary prevention can be carried out for cervical cancer:
vaccination against the most severe strains of the HPV virus protects against the infection, which is the main cause of cervical cancer.
It is offered free of charge by the National Health Service to girls aged 11-12, but can also be given later, with the approval of your GP.
Uterine tumours usually occur in women over the age of 50.
There is no effective screening providing early diagnosis, but survival can be as much as 90%.
Symptoms include anomalous bleeding from the vagina unrelated to the menstrual cycle, unpleasant smelling vaginal discharge, pain in the pelvic area or lower back, sudden weight loss with no apparent cause.
Ovarian cancer affects about 4,800 women in Italy every year, with a survival rate after five years of between 37 and 50%, depending on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed.
At the moment there is no effective screening to provide early diagnosis.
There are often no symptoms during the initial stage. In the case of prolonged abdominal swelling, aerophagia, and the need to urinate frequently, it is best to seek medical advice.