September is gynecological cancer awareness month. In 2017, more than 107,000 new cases of gynecologic cancers were diagnosed in American women. Of those, an estimated 31,600 women lost their fight with a gynecologic cancer.

Every woman is at risk for developing a gynecologic cancer. Risk tends to increase with age, and there is always a heightened possibility of cancer due to family history or race. Lifestyle choices such as chronic smoking and obesity can impact one’s risk for developing a gynecologic cancer; for instance, there is a correlation between higher rates of uterine/endometrial cancers in obese women.

“The biggest takeaway for women is to stay mindful of their bodies, report any symptoms that appear even remotely irregular and make sure they have their screenings conducted on a yearly basis. These actions can ultimately save their life,” said Warner Huh, M.D., senior medical officer of UAB Cancer Service Line and director of the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology. Screening can result in early detection, when a cancer is more likely to be treated successfully.

“Most people who get a gynecologic cancer don’t have obvious risk factors,” Huh said. “With these types of cancers, what women can control is being screened regularly and seeking medical advice if something doesn’t seem right with their bodies.”

The infographic below explains the symptoms of the top five most common gynecologic cancers. If you have questions, ask your doctor or visit www.uabmedicine.org/WomensCancers.com.