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Why It's Important to Have a Women's Health Exam Even After a Hysterectomy

Updated on May 1, 2017

Squamous Cells Detected in a Pap Smear

Love Yourself Always

Having a pelvic exam after a hysterectomy can still save your life. Women can still get cancer in their vaginas and also if you never had your ovaries removed, a doctor can feel them for any kind of cyst or swelling.

A swabbing of the vaginal wall can also detect any STD's. Most women do not have symptoms of STD's and most are found in the vaginal wall.

Do people stop getting yearly exams by their doctors just because their yearly labs always come back okay. No you continue to go because it prevents things that could ultimately have a bad outcome.

Left untreated, vaginal cancer can spread rapidly and make its way into lymph nodes in the groin and pass on to other areas of the body. 50% of women with sqaumous cell cancer in the vagina are over the age of 50. There are no definite ways to prevent this cancer. You can increase your chances of early detection by getting regular yearly pelvic examinations and Pap smears. A Pap test can find abnormal cells that may be cancer, so that is why it is important to get a pap smear even after a hysterectomy.

Along with a mammogram, ladies, you should always have a pelvic exam yearly no matter how long it has been since you had a hysterectomy.

Early detection is the key to cancer survival.

Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer Warnings

Squamous Cell and Adenocarcinoma of the Vagina

Two cancers that can be found in the vagina are Squamous Cell and Adenocarcinoma. These two cancers can only be detected on a vaginal exam. You may have lesions that can be biopsied but not doing anything can cost you your life.

Symptoms of squamous cell and adenocarcinoma cancers.

Symptoms of vaginal cancer include bleeding or discharge not related to menstrual periods, painful intercourse, pain in the pelvic area and any lumps in the vagina or surrounding areas. If you have any of these symptoms it warrants a trip to your gynecologist.

To diagnose vaginal cancer, a doctor may do a pelvic exam, pap smear, biopsy, or colposcopy. It you have a positive biopsy then you will have to have treatment which may include chemotherapy and or radiation.

Risk Factors For Vaginal Cancer

Statistics

It is estimated that 1,240 deaths from vaginal cancer will occur this year. Vaginal cancer is uncommon but not unheard of. This year, an estimated 4,810 women in the United States will be diagnosed with vaginal cancer. Recent research has shown that about 75% of vaginal cancers diagnosed from 2008 through 2012 were due to human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be avoided with a vaccine for teenagers.

Survival rates for vaginal cancer vary based on different factors, including the stage (or extent) of the disease at the time of diagnosis. The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of women live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for women with any type of vaginal cancer is 47%.

The one thing to remember is statistics are only an estimate and it could be more or less. We rely on diagnosis to be reported to the CDC but often times it is not.


Vulvar Cancer Survivors

A Pelvic Exam Can Save Your LIfe

If your gynecologist doesn't recommend a pelvic exam after your hysterectomy, then find a new one. Women were not given the grace that men have to start having symptoms in the pelvic area.

Most of the time if cancer is found in the vagina and it is too far gone, it is because that woman failed herself and never had a pelvic exam after a hysterectomy.

Breast cancer gets plenty of national attention. As a woman you probably never miss a mammogram because of the fear of breast cancer. Why should it be any different with a pelvic exam. After I had my hysterectomy my oncologist surgeon told me that all women need a pelvic exam after a hysterectomy because you still can have cancer. Because I had hyperplasia of my cervix (which is precancerous cells) he decided to remove my ovaries as well. He didn't want to see me a year later with ovarian cancer and be a statistic.

Ladies don't wait if you have problems. We take care of everyone else but forget about ourselves. If you love your family then love yourself enough to get a pelvic exam. It could save your life.

Awareness is the Key

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