Cancer In Women: Ladies, Here's How You Can Reduce The Risk
Women are at a higher risk of certain cancers. Read here as expert explain three common cancers in women and how to prevent these.
Breast cancer affects women worldwide
- Self-examination for lumps can help detect breast cancer early
- PAP test can help check for the risk of cervical Cancer
- Family history with ovarian cancer can increase the risk
Data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) shows that the contribution of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like Diabetes, Cardiovascular disorders, Kidney diseases and Cancer contributed to the majority of the deaths reported in women and had risen from 38 % to 60 %. The pandemic brought with it additional challenges, especially for women who were already suffering from NCD's - especially Cancer. In 2018, 11.6 Lakh new cancer patients were identified, of which 50% were women. It has been seen the primary cancers affecting the majority of women are that of breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, oral cancer and colorectal cancer. Many of these cancers, coupled with being overweight and obesity and limited physical activity, tend to increase the risks substantially.
Prevention and Way Forward
Some of the measures that can be taken to prevent cancers in women are-
Breast cancer: Studies have indicated that women, who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke and have minimal alcohol intake have a lower risk of breast cancer when compared to others. Early cancer detection can be greatly supported by self-examination of the body for lumps and growths followed by mammograms should be able to identify the problem early.
Cervical Cancer: It is thought to be caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) through sexual contact and is quite common. Reducing this cancer's chances includes safe sex measures, not smoking, regular pap smears, and vaccination against the HPV virus. It should be kept in mind that if cervical cancer is caught in the pre-cancerous stage, it is possible to prevent it from becoming cancerous ultimately.
Ovarian Cancer: While the exact cause for this is unknown but history of cancer plays an important role. Additionally, being overweight and having fertility pills continuously for more than one year also increase the risk. If not monitored regularly, it gets identified late stage resulting in minimal interventions. The non-specific warning signs can be bloating of the abdomen, frequent urination, abdominal pain, weight loss and nausea.
It is essential for women to keep a check on the symptoms of common cancer in women. Early screenings play a vital role in timely treatment and increases the chances of survival.
(Dr. Meenu Walia, Director, Dept of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi)
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