In 2008 more than 80,000 women were diagnosed with a type of gynecologic cancer and nearly 30,000 women died as a result. A new study suggests by raising awareness of symptoms, it can lead to early detection and improve survival rates.

There are five main type of gynecological cancer: cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Fallopian tube cancer is considered a gynecological cancer; however it is the rarest one.

The study observed women between the ages of 40 and 60 throughout Chicago, New York City, Los Angles and Miami. Researchers gave each participant a list of symptoms that are associated with gynecological cancers. Participants were instructed to answer questions regarding symptoms, their concern and if they'd experience any of them.

Warning Signs

According to lead study researcher Cynthia Gelb, health communication specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were five symptoms women did not associate with gynecological cancer.

Five symptoms women should be aware of are:

  • vaginal itching or burning
  • back or abdominal pain
  • being tired all the time
  • having to pass urine very badly or more often than usual
  • bloating

When You Should See a Gynecologist

Gelb recommends women become aware of what is normal for them. Women should know how long their menstrual cycle last, how heavy it is and other symptoms related to menstrual cycles. For example unusual bleeding, or if an individual's menstrual cycle is heavier than normal, are signs that you should visit a gynecologist immediately.

In addition, if a woman endures bloating and other symptoms for longer than two weeks, Gelb recommends seeking professional care. The study demonstrated women experienced such symptoms significantly longer than two weeks.

Gelb advocates raising awareness of symptoms that may lead to early detection. She believes women should be more informed about gynecological cancers, because many symptoms may not seem related to reproductive organs.

The study was published in the journal Family Practice.