Gone are the days when women only played supporting roles to men; today, women have taken countless responsibilities in society. In the modern society, women hold vital positions in business, education, and even politics. But regardless of how empowered women are today, they’re still susceptible to chronic illnesses, like cancer.
According to statistics, 8.5 million women were diagnosed with cancer in 2018. The symptoms associated with cancer can take a toll on a woman’s life, affecting her productivity, relationships, and even self-esteem.
Listed below are five potential cancers female should look out for:
Uterine cancer, or otherwise known as endometrial cancer, is characterized by tumors that are found in the uterine lining. The cancer cells are found inside the uterus, and it’s often easily detectable because of the obvious symptoms it causes, such as:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Difficulty urination.
There are also some potential risk factors you should know:
- Hormones disbalance – Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that are produced by the ovaries. Changes in their stability may cause alternation in the natural condition of the uterus.
- Older Age – The chances of endometrial cancer increase after menopause.
- Obesity – The excess body fat may cause changes in your hormones.
If you suspect that you might have uterine cancer because you experience some of the mentioned signs, it’s essential that you visit your doctor and do a uterine health checkup. The doctor will be able to perform a medical test to see if there are any abnormalities. If there is, your doctor may then recommend surgery, chemotherapy, or a combination of both.
Some early warning signs of early-stage breast cancer include a new lump in the breast (breast tumor) or underarm area, thickening or swelling of the chest area, pain or heaviness in the shoulder, and redness or skin irritation in the breasts or the nipple region. Other common symptoms include bleeding or spotting in the nipple or surrounding areas, which is sometimes caused by a lump.
If you find that one or more of these signs or symptoms appear and you haven’t had a mammogram for at least two years, you should have it checked immediately. It’s possible to have breast cancer without being aware of it.
Ovarian cancer is a very common disease among women and can even be the cause of other cancer conditions, such as endometrial cancer and cervical cancer. This type of cancer starts in a woman’s ovary and usually spreads to the abdomen and pelvis.
Ovarian cancer is one of the most fatal cancers that involved a woman’s reproductive tract. Women who go through menopause are at high risk of developing ovarian cancer because of their age. Women who are obese, have children late in their lives, or never completed a full-term pregnancy are also at risk of ovarian cancer.
For women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer before menopause, the treatment can also impact their lives in many ways. This is because it’ll require them to remove both of their ovaries, which means that they can no longer get pregnant naturally.
One of the first signs of ovarian cancer is often an unusual pain during urination or menstruation. If you’re experiencing this, there may be a chance that you’re already suffering from this condition. In addition, some women experience unusual bleeding after they have a period, which is also very important since this could indicate that you’re having a miscarriage.
Unfortunately, there are very few treatments for ovarian cancer. Although there are some options available today, the main goal is to remove the tumor from the ovary. The problem with this type of surgery is that it may not cure the cancer. This means that women who undergo it will often have another surgery in the future.
Cervical cancer in women is a very dangerous condition. However, if it’s detected early, it can be treated. The cervix is actually the small upper, narrow portion of the vagina (reproductive uterus), situated directly between the rectum and bladder. Cancer of the cervix can develop and grow quite rapidly. Any change in the functioning of the cervix can signal the presence of cancer. This is why Pap tests and pelvic exams should be done on a yearly basis.
The number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year is growing at an alarming rate. Most of the cervical cancer cases in the United States are diagnosed in women who are in their mid to late thirties. When women reach the age of fifty, the chance of survival for cancer of any kind decreases by about 33%.
Cervical cancer is associated with a lot of risk factors, which include having multiple sex partners, being younger than 45 years, being a current or past smoker, not using a condom during sexual intercourse, and not using a lubricant while having intercourse.
Another usual type of cancer in females is lung cancer. According to a study, lung cancer has gained popularity in the recent years because the number of women affected by this cancer accounts for nearly half the new cases, yet they don’t smoke as much as men.
This cancer can be extremely aggressive, and it may not show symptoms until it has progressed far enough for treatment. If you’re an individual who smokes or has been exposed to second-hand smoke, then you’re at greater risk of developing lung cancers than people who do not smoke.
Here are some of the symptoms to pay attention to:
- Constant chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent coughing
- Relapsing bronchitis
The treatment mostly depends on a number of factors, such as the size and position of the cancer, in what stage is it, and your overall health. But it usually includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
There are three types of surgery available for you and your doctor to choose from:
Lobectomy – where one or more large parts of the lung (lobes) are removed.
Pneumonectomy – where the entire lung is removed.
Segmentectomy – where a small piece of the lung is removed, but this procedure can only work for a small number of patients.
There are various types of cancers that are present in the female population. For you to be aware of the presence of cancer, you’ll have to undergo a specific test, better yet, a full-body scan.