Reproductive system cancers affect both men and women. Women can experience ovarian, cervical, or uterine cancers, while prostate, testicular, and penile cancers may strike men. The occurrence of the different reproductive system cancers can be influenced by age, health, environmental factors, and genetics. The survival rate of a person with one of these diseases usually depends on the type of cancer and the stage of it when diagnosed.
Cervical cancer is the most common of the reproductive system cancers in women. The rate of cervical cancer is higher in women who smoke, have numerous sexual partners, give birth to many children, or are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Strains of human papilliomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, are thought to be responsible for many cases of cervical cancer. A yearly pap smear, done by a gynecologist, can catch cervical cancer early and reduce the chances of death from the disease.
Almost all uterine cancer effects the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. The majority of women with this type of cancer have gone through menopause. It is thought that hormone replacement therapy after menopause increases the risk of this cancer. The disease is often diagnosed after a woman experiences unusual uterine bleeding.
Ovarian cancer is the least common of the reproductive system cancers in women, but it also has the lowest survival rate. Very few symptoms are present when a woman has ovarian cancer, and it is rarely detected early. In many cases, the cancer has spread by the time a diagnosis is made which can account for the low survival rate.
Prostate cancer is the most common of the reproductive system cancers in men. This disease usually develops in men over the age of 40. Blood screening tests are available to detect the presence of prostate cancer, and it is commonly recommended that men over 40 have a yearly prostate exam done by a doctor.
Testicular cancer is usually diagnosed in men under the age of 35. The most common symptom of it is a growing mass in the scrotum. When a man is diagnosed with testicular cancer, his doctor will most likely recommend the removal of the affected testicle.
Penile cancer is the rarest of men's reproductive system cancers. Most patients diagnosed with this form of the disease are over the age of 40 and not circumcised. Treatment of penile cancer typically includes surgery, radiation, or both. The survival rate of penile cancer is high.