The presence of cancer in a woman is not a rare case, as quite a large number of women all over the world have some forms of cancer that are affecting women’s health.
Some are treatable and some fatal. The inflation in the number of cancers affecting women’s health is a cause of concern for the medical world.
The cases of female cancers are on the rise worldwide. If one condition is treated, another one emerges. Maybe, women have a sensitive body structure that’s why they are affected by cancers more than men. Unfortunately, according to a cancer organization, the predicted cancer deaths in the next two decades will be about 13 million.
What is cancer?
It is a general name given to a group of diseases affecting body tissues. The Human body is made up of trillions of living cells which can grow, die and divide in a well-ordered manner, but when these cells become abnormal i.e. grow constantly instead of dying and invading other tissues also causes cancer. It can affect almost every part of the body.
Symptoms of cancer in women:
Some specific cancer symptoms are reported in women more often. Such symptoms of cancer include:
• Change in breast – puckering, nipples turn inward, nipple discharge, redness
• Bloating – constant bloating means ovarian cancer
• Bleeding after menopause – it is not normal to bleed after menopause
• Skin changes – change in size, color and shape of mole or spot on skin
• Blood in urine – secretion of blood through urine
• Trouble swallowing – consistent vomiting makes it difficult to digest foods
• Weight loss without trying – reduction in weight that makes women look frail
• Mouth changes – bright red patches inside mouth
• Cough – more than 3-4 weeks
Causes of cancer in women:
There are several aspects responsible for developing cancer in women. Some major factors which can increase the chances of cancer include family medical history, unhealthy living style, high body mass index, tobacco smoking and alcohol use, less fruit and vegetable intakes, lack of physical activity.
Top forms of cancer affecting women:
There are some very common cases of cancer that affect women more often than others do. These cancers can be counted as:
• Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the very common forms of cancer in women that develops in the cells of the breast. Studies say that one out of eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer occurs in women due to long menstruation i.e. when periods start before 12 and menopause after 55. Other causes include-having the first pregnancy after 30, non-pregnancy, overweight, no breastfeeding, alcohol consumption and lack of exercise.
Breast cancer can be cured at its early stage (stage 0 & 1); chances are favorable even in stage 2. That’s why women must get clinical checkups for breast exams in every 3 years until the age of 20-30 years. A healthy diet and regular exercise can significantly reduce the risks of breast cancer.
• Lung, and bronchus cancer
Lung, and bronchus cancer are a carcinogenic type of cancer. National Lung Association studies show that its cases are increased by 3.5% only from 1999 to 2012. Smoking is a major cause of lung cancer. Second-hand smoke, radon gas, arsenic, tar and soot also invite potential risks of cancer in women. Some primary symptoms of this type of cancer include:
• Chest pain
• Blood in a cough
• Prolonged cough
• Wheezing and shortness of breath
• Difficulty swallowing
Doctors can detect the presence of lung and bronchus cancer by conduction of some tests like Bronchoscope, Biopsy, Mediastinoscopy, Sputum test, X-rays, positron emission tomography, CT scans or MRI scans of the chest.
• Colon and rectum cancer
Colon cancer evolves in the inner wall of the large intestine and rectal cancer originates in the rectum, but both these cancers crop up together. This type of cancer mostly occurs at the age of 50 or more. Some causes of colorectal cancer symptoms are:
• Genes (DNS type) – It arises when the cells are unable to repair the damaged DNA.
• Genes (family type) – Inheritance of genetic predisposition from family members, develops the risks of cancer.
• Sedentary lifestyle – Inactive lifestyle, high intake of fat, low in fiber, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking and red meat increases the chances of colon cancer.
• Other medical factors – Diabetes, radiation treatment, ulcerative colitis also increases the possibility of colon cancer.
Early detection of this cancer can be removed by a treatment called colonoscopy and studies show that intake of calcium and dairy products can reduce the risk of this type of cancer.
• Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer is the fourth most prevalent form of cancer in women and, it’s primarily caused by hormonal transitions (estrogen). The risks of this type of cancer get increased due to age, especially 60+. Some conditions that encourage uterine cancer are post-menopausal, high blood pressure, endometrial hyperplasia, family history, obesity, no pregnancies and ovarian cancer. Uterine cancer or endometrial cancer is treatable if it’s diagnosed in time.
• Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
This cancer begins in lymph nodes, tonsils, adenoids, thymus gland, bone marrow and lymphatic system. This type of cancer can appear at any stage of life. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma caused in women due to a weak immune system, autoimmune diseases, obesity and exposure to chemicals (insecticides and herbicides).
There are many ways to reduce the risks of female cancer. Change in lifestyle is the first and foremost step to resist cancer symptoms. Some particular steps are:
• Say no to tobacco
• Always maintain a healthy weight
• Do more physical activity
• Eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables
• Limit alcohol consumption
• Protect your skin from UV rays, sunlight and pollution
• Get regular health checkups and cancer screening tests