Pelvic cancer is any cancer that occurs in the pelvic region. The person afflicted can be male or female, but most types of pelvic cancer affect female organs such as the uterus and the ovaries. These cancers are referred to by the specific organ affected, rather than by the general term pelvic cancer. Cancers occurring in the same general area of the body may share some of the same symptoms, even though they are technically different types of cancers. This is true of many different pelvic cancer symptoms and may include urinary incontinence, pain and feelings of fullness in the abdomen.
One of the most common pelvic cancer symptoms is pelvic pain. This is often ignored or explained away as a pulled muscle, menstrual problem, or other non-serious issue. Pelvic pain can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a chronic condition that can be caused by any number of problems including sexually transmitted diseases and abscesses on the reproductive organs. Chronic pelvic pain may also be caused by appendicitis or other conditions not directly related to the pelvic area.
Most pelvic cancers afflict women, since they are located in the female reproductive organs. Men with pelvic cancer symptoms such as chronic pain should be checked for prostate cancer or testicular cancer, as these often have pain as their main symptom. A man with one of these types of cancers may also experience tiredness, lumps, or tenderness and enlargement of the breasts.
Other common pelvic cancer symptoms are unexplained weight loss, nausea, incontinence, gas, vaginal bleeding between periods or in post-menopausal women and enlarged lymph nodes. The abdomen may feel very full or heavy, and the person may also have lower back pain. Pain during intercourse is common with certain types of pelvic cancer, especially cervical cancer.
Treatment for pelvic cancer depends on a number of different factors. Often surgery is the first step, removing as much as possible of the cancer and the surrounding tissue. Chemotherapy may be used before surgery to shrink any large tumors, and it is often used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells. Radiation therapy may also be used to make certain the cancer cannot grow back.
If pelvic cancer symptoms are ignored or not recognized as being serious, the cancer may metastasize, or spread, to other organs, including the liver and lungs. Treatment for metastasized cancer tends to be much more involved and may not have as good a prognosis as treatment for cancer that is confined to a single location. It is important for anyone who thinks he or she may be experiencing pelvic cancer symptoms to check with a physician as soon as possible.