It’s been commonly stated that “knowledge is power”. This especially holds true for your health. One in every three women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their life. Women are affected by numerous cancers every day. Simply being aware of these cancers and knowing what their signs are can help with early detection. Below are the top cancers that affect women.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women. Breast cancer is a disease where cancer cells form in the tissues of the breast that eventually invade surrounding tissue. With early detection and treatment, most people can live a normal life. A preventative measure every woman can take is getting a mammogram. Women ages 50 to 74 years should get a mammogram every 2 years. Every woman should perform a self-breast exam each month to help detect lumps or a change in the breast tissue.
The most common form of treatment for breast cancer is surgery. This involves removing the tumor and nearby margins. Another commonly practiced treatment is chemotherapy, which uses a combination of drugs to either destroy the cancer cells or slow down their growth. To learn more about breast cancer visit Nationalbreastcancer.org.
According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancer combined. One in five women who develop lung cancer are life-long non-smokers. The most common type of lung cancer in women is adenocarcinoma, which begins in the outer parts of the lung. Early symptoms can be subtle, such as shortness of breath with activity or fatigue. As the disease progresses, you may experience a chronic cough or cough up blood.
The most common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. If diagnosed early, surgery may offer a higher chance for a cure. Sadly, the five-year survival rate is only about 15%.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. It is expected to cause about 50,310 deaths during 2014. Colon cancer is caused by a malignant tumor arising from the inner wall of the large intestine.
Most colorectal cancers develop from polyps and removal of these polyps can prevent colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, colon polyps and early cancer can have no symptoms – therefore regular screening is important. The National Polyp Study showed that individuals who had their polyps removed experienced a 90% reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer.
Other Cancers that Affect Women
Other prevalent cancers that affect women include cervical and ovarian cancer. Many people are often confused about the difference between the two, when in fact they are very different from each other. While both are gynecological cancers, cervical cancer is found in the cervix and symptoms include increased vaginal discharge and pain during sex. A Pap smear test is a pelvic exam that can screen for cervical cancer, but does not detect ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a very complex disease with symptoms that are more vague and not always gynecological. Currently, there is no screening method available for ovarian cancer. While ovarian cancer occurs in the ovaries, some symptoms may include a swollen or bloated abdomen; persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis; and difficulty eating or feeling full quickly.
To learn more about the different cancers that affect women or if you would liked to be screened, schedule an appointment online with Winter Park Obstetrician at Contemporary Women’s Care or call (407) 478-6249.