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COMMON CANCERS IN WOMEN

Post by on Sunday, December 5, 2021

First slide
The most common types of cancer affecting women are:
•       Cervical cancer
•       Breast cancer
•       Endometrial (Uterine) cancer
•       Ovarian cancer
•       Lung cancer
•       Colorectal cancer (cancer of the rectum or colon)
 
CERVICAL CANCER
Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers found in women. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection increases risk of developing cervical cancer. This is because the virus produces certain proteins that turn off tumor suppressor genes, which can allow the cells lining the cervix to grow too much and develop gene mutations, which in turn can lead to cancer. 
 
BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second-most common cause of death from cancer in women. The frequency of breast cancer increases with age, with most women being diagnosed in menopause. When breast cancer is discovered early, treatments are more likely to be successful, less disfiguring, and less disruptive to a woman and her family. Most often breast cancer appears as a painless lump in a woman’s breast or armpit.
 
ENDOMETRIAL (UTERINE) CANCER
Endometrial cancer - the major type of uterine cancer, arises from the endometrial lining of the uterus. It is the fourth-most common cancer for women and the most common cancer of the female reproductive system. Endometrial cancer typically occurs in women aged 45 to 70. The most common signs of endometrial cancer are unusual vaginal discharge and/or bleeding. Heavy bleeding during menopause or any bleeding after menopause warrants medical attention. Because there is no reliable test for endometrial cancer, it is very important to seek early medical attention and follow up with a doctor if any symptoms appear. Endometrial cancer is typically treated (and cured) by having a hysterectomy.
 
OVARIAN CANCER
Ovarian cancer is cancer that begins in the ovaries, the organs that produce a woman’s eggs. Ovarian cancer can develop at any age, but it is most common in women between the ages of 50 and 60. It usually has no signs or symptoms until it has spread beyond the ovaries—this is why it is so important to seek medical attention if women have a family history of the disease. Risk factors for ovarian cancer include inherited gene mutations, older age, family history of ovarian cancer, and long-term use of large doses of hormone replacement therapy.
 
LUNG CANCER
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death for women. Lung cancer occurs most often in the 55- 70 age group but in recent decades, the incidence has increased twofold in the 40-44 year old group and tenfold in the 60-64 year group. Compared to other cancers, lung cancer has a relatively low survival rate. Smoking or exposure to tobacco is the main cause of lung cancer. Quitting or reducing smoking and living in a smoke free environment dramatically decreases the risk. Other causes of lung cancer include exposure to industrial products and toxins such as arsenic and radon gas, as well as air pollution.
 
COLORECTAL CANCER
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the lower part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and is the third-most-common cancer for women. It is typically caused by small growths (polyps or adenomas) in the colon or rectum that become malignant. Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer is critical to survival, however it will often have no symptoms in the early stages and if found they are usually non-specific or vague, such as abdominal discomfort, changes in digestion, or bowel habits. It is better to seek medical attention early if women experience such kinds of symptoms and signs. Both smoking and drinking increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but women are more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of smoking.
 
SCREENING FOR CERVICAL CANCER
Women in ages group 40-64
•       Screening for cervical cancer (Pap smear and HPV testing every 3-5 years, based on individual risk.
•       Periodic HIV and STD testing. 
•       Mammography every 1-2 years beginning at 40 (for those with low risk); every year beginning at age 50.
•       Premenopausal and menopausal women should discuss any urogenital issues with their doctor—these can include vaginal dryness, vulvo-vaginal atrophy (when the vulva and the tissue lining the vagina become thinner, drier, and less elastic/flexible), low libido, urine leakage or urgency, recurrent urinary tract infections, hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, and others.
•       A vaccination for HPV is available for girls and women ages 9 to 26. The vaccine protects against the strains of human papillomavirus that cause cervical and other cancers.
Women above 65 years
•       Continued screening for cervical cancer every 3-5 years until age 70, unless the person has had 3 negative tests within the past 10 years; women with several negative prior screenings may no longer need screenings after age of 70.
•       Mammogram every 1-2 years until age 75, depending on breast cancer risk. 
•       Post-menopausal women should discuss any urogenital issues with their doctor—these can include hot flashes, night sweats, vulvovaginal atrophy (when the vulva and the tissue lining the vagina become thinner, drier, and less elastic/flexible), urine leakage or urgency, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), and others.
 
Breast cancer screening
There are three ways to detect breast changes that might be cancerous. Women should have knowledge about their breasts and what is normal for them. Many cases of breast cancer are discovered through self-examination. Adult women should have a clinical breast examination by a trained health-care professional at least once every year and should have a mammogram yearly past the age of 40 and every two years from age 50 to 79.
 
Colorectal cancer screening
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended to start at age of 50. This includes having an annual digital rectal examination and chemical testing of a stool sample for occult blood (i.e., blood in the feces).
 
PREVENTION
Though many cancers have a genetic component including strong family history of certain types of cancer, there are actions women can take every day to reduce her risk. These include:
•       Eating a high-fiber diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy proteins.
•       Staying physically active.
•       Avoiding alcohol consumption.
•       Not smoking, and avoiding second-hand smoke.
•       Protecting your skin from the sun; this includes avoiding indoor and outdoor tanning.
•       Seeing your doctor regularly.
•       Avoiding stress by doing daily meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness exercises.
•       Getting recommended screening tests for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancers as mentioned above.
 

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