Despite its high incidence, gynecological tumors do not even have the necessary attention or awareness of the population enough to detect their symptoms in time. That is why on the occasion of World Gynecological Cancer Day, the European Society of Oncological Gynecology (ESGO) has promoted a new campaign to raise awareness among women of the importance of early detection of these tumors for healing.
The first idea to highlight is that the term gynecological cancer groups five types of tumors: that of the ovary, endometrium, vulva, vagina and cervix. The next thing to review is that today is the second most frequent tumor in incidence in women and the third in terms of mortality.
In this regard, Antonio González, co-director of Medical Oncology at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra and president of the European platform for clinical trials in gynecological cancer (ENGOT, European Network for Gyncological Oncological Trials), of ESGO, states that “in some of tumors such as ovarian, up to 80 percent of cases are detected when the symptoms are very evident and the disease is very advanced. Therefore, we need women to know the symptoms, which can sometimes be confused with digestive problems, in order to detect it earlier when the treatment is more effective. ”
As to what these symptoms are, although each tumor has its particular symptoms, there are some common warning signs, such as vaginal bleeding outside the cycle, at menopause or during sexual intercourse, gut swelling, need for urinating more frequently and pain / pressure in the pelvis, abdomen or back. If they are experienced continuously, a gynecological ultrasound will be necessary.
Although knowing the symptoms can help to make an early diagnosis, the reality is that in most cases gynecological cancer cannot be prevented (except for cervical cancer through vaccines). That is why treatment is vitally important. Regarding the news in this regard, Antonio González reports that “we are currently developing new treatments to address them, among which immunotherapy and PARP inhibitors, a type of protein mainly involved in DNA repair and cell death.”
Based on his own experience at the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, the expert informs that they currently have more than ten new trials with drugs, including immunotherapeutic agents, to deal with these tumors. Also, new forms of therapeutic approach are being developed, since it is currently possible to know the molecular profile of each woman to choose the treatment that will be most effective in each case.