What is gynecologic cancer?

Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. While they are often discussed as a group, each gynecologic cancer is unique. Each has different signs, symptoms, and risk factors (things that may increase your chance of getting each cancer). For some of these cancers, there are ways to lower your risk.

The five main types of gynecologic cancer are:

  • Cervical cancer: Begins in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus (or womb).
  • Ovarian cancer: Begins in the ovaries, located on each side of the uterus.
  • Uterine/Endometrial Cancer: Begins in the uterus, the pear-shaped organ in a woman’s pelvis where the baby grows when a woman is pregnant.
  • Vaginal cancer: Begins in the vagina, the hollow, tube-like channel between the bottom of the uterus and the outside of the body. It is also called the birth canal.
  • Vulvar cancer: Begins in the vulva, the outer part of the female genital organs, which includes the inner and outer lips of the vagina, the clitoris, and the opening of the vagina and its glands.

Additional types of gynecologic cancer exist, and include fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer.

SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts About Gynecologic Cancer campaign