Know About 3 Most Common Cancers In Women

Learn About 3 Most Common Cancers In Women
19 Oct 2022
8 mins
Table Of Content
Know About 3 Most Common Cancers In Women

    Breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, oral cancer, thyroid cancer, and gastric cancer are the most common cancers in women. Understanding these cancers, their initial symptoms, screening tests, and risks, and what you need to do about them can help detect cancers at an early stage where most cancers are highly treatable and prevent them. Let’s discuss the three most common cancers seen in Indian women

    Breast Cancer: Check Your Breasts Regularly


    It is the leading cancer among women, and one in eight women are diagnosed with this cancer during their lifetime. Though anyone can develop breast cancer, women above 50 who have been through menopause are highly likely to develop breast cancer. Painless lump or thickening in the breast is often the initial noticeable symptom, but it is vital to know that there are numerous reasons for breast lumps, and as many as ninety percent of breast lumps are non-cancerous. 


    Besides being old, if you are a woman with a history of breast conditions, have had previous radiation therapy, has alcohol addiction, are obese, or have a family history of breast cancer, you are at increased risk of developing this cancer. Women having a 1st child after age 30, having never been pregnant, early puberty, early or late menopause are also at higher risk. 


    When breast cancers are found early, they can be successfully treated, and there is a better chance of recovery. Getting recommended screening tests and visiting a doctor if you experience any breast cancer symptoms or have any known risk factors can help detect cancers early. Experts recommend an annual mammogram (breast x-ray) for women aged forty and above to check for early signs of breast cancer, and the screening recommendations may vary if you have any risk factors. If you notice a change in size, shape, or appearance of breasts, lump or swelling in either of the armpits, or discharge from nipples, visit a doctor. 

    Lip And Oral Cavity Cancer (Mouth Cancer): Have Regular Dental Checkups & Maintain Good Oral Hygiene


    Cancers that happen in any part that constitutes the oral cavity are referred to as mouth cancer. It can occur on the floor or roof of the mouth, tongue, lips, gums, or lining of cheeks, and when it occurs inside the mouth, it is called oral cavity cancer or oral cancer. Any kind of tobacco use and heavy alcohol consumption are the leading risk factors for developing mouth and many other cancers. If you drink alcohol and smoke, you are at greater risk of getting mouth cancers. 


    What else? Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, poor immune system, and excessive sun exposure to the lips can also increase someone’s risk of mouth cancers. The most common symptoms include unexplained and persistent lumps in the mouth or lymph glands in the neck and sore mouth ulcers that do not get better after several weeks. This cancer does not cause noticeable signs or symptoms at an early stage, and some of the common symptoms related to mouth cancer can be caused by less serious conditions such as infection. 


    Hence, having regular dental checkups is very crucial. If you have any symptoms which have lasted more than 3 weeks, particularly if you drink or smoke, check with your doctor as soon as possible. Though there are no sure ways to prevent it, you can largely reduce your risk of mouth cancer by stopping tobacco use, ensuring you don’t consume alcohol more than recommended, eating a balanced diet, and using a lip balm with at least SPF 30 when you go outside. 

    Cervical Cancer: Get Screened And Vaccinated 


    The cervix is the opening between the uterus and vagina, and cervical cancer occurs when cells in the cervix continue to grow abnormally. About 99 percent of cervical cancer cases are associated with high-risk HPV (human papillomaviruses) infection, and this common virus can spread through skin-to-skin contact of the genital area. Our immune system prevents this virus from attacking the body, although, in certain people, the virus stays for years and can cause a change in cervical cells, leading to cervical cancer. 


    People who have a weak immune system, women who have given multiple births, had a child at an early age, or had certain types of cancer (kidney, vulval, vaginal, or bladder cancer) in the past are more likely to get cervical cancer. If your mother took a medicine called DES (diethylstilbestrol) while pregnant with you, you smoke or have other sexually transmitted infections, you are at risk of getting this cancer. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is often the first symptom of cervical cancer. It is important to consult with your physician if you have abnormal bleeding or suspicious symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, or unusual vaginal discharge. 


    Cervical cancers are usually slow-growing, and regular screening tests help find cancers at an early stage where they are highly treatable. Pap tests, also known as Pap smear tests and HPV tests, are the screening tests for cervical cancer. Physicians recommend women from 21 to 29 need to have a Pap test every 3 years. And women from 30 to 64 need to have a Pap and HPV test every five years or only a Pap test every three years. HPV vaccination can largely reduce the risk of getting cervical cancer, and it is recommended between ages 11 and 12. It can be given as early as age 9 and may be given till age 26 for individuals who were not properly vaccinated previously. 

    What Can I Do To Decrease My Cancer Risk? 


    Keep the weight within a healthy range and stay physically active. Follow a healthy diet that incorporates more plant-based foods and eliminates or limits processed foods. Stay away from unhealthy habits such as alcohol and tobacco use. Know your family history and have recommended vaccinations and screenings. Apart from that, educate people around you by spreading awareness about these most common cancers in women. 


    Written by
    GuruvigneshwariContent Writer
    AboutM.Pharmacy (Pharmacognosy)
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