Of the types of gynecologic cancer, cervical cancer is perhaps the most straightforward in terms of prevention. Most cervical cancers stem from the human papilloma virus, a sexually transmitted infection, and there is a virus available for women between the ages of nine and 26 to prevent HPV. This virus can block up to 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. For the rest, regular Pap smears can detect cervical cancer in its earliest stages, giving you the best prognosis possible.
To reduce your chance of developing any gynecologic cancer, health care professionals recommend limiting your number of sexual partners, receiving regular Pap tests and then following up on any abnormalities those tests indicate. In addition, a diet rich in antioxidant-containing fresh fruits and vegetables and low in red meat and animal fat will decrease your chances of developing gynecologic cancer, particularly ovarian cancer. Researchers have reported that increased exercise can also lower your chances of developing gynecologic cancer. Weight control is a key as well: women with a body mass index of greater than 40 have a 60 percent higher risk of dying from all cancers than women of normal weight—in fact, obesity now contributes as much to cancer deaths in the developed world as smoking.
In addition, having at least one child (and, additionally, breastfeeding for a year) can help reduce your risk of developing ovarian cancer. Tubal ligation, or when a woman’s fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked as a means of sterilization, has also been shown to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer in some women.