Considered as the second biggest killer in the United States, cancer spares no one. It could affect anyone, from any race, gender, or age. Though the rates of cancer mortality in the United States have decreased by a quarter over the last two decades, the fight against cancer continues as proven by the numerous worldwide movements against it.
Everything from major research funding and movements, extensive clinical trials, great focus on the development of better treatment as well as early-detection methods, and even a month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness, have all contributed to the public’s awareness of cancer as a life-threatening disease that sorely needs a cure.
As the fight against cancer continues, the attention naturally turns towards women, as every year, approximately 850,000 American women are diagnosed with cancer.
Regardless of whether it’s environmental, bad luck, or simply a matter of genetics, there are actually up to two-thirds of cancer-related deaths in the United States that could be prevented. The important thing to remember is that an early diagnosis is key. An early diagnosis means that the cancer is still in its first stages, and would certainly be more treatable as opposed to cancers being diagnosed in their later stages.
If women are aware of what type of cancers can possibly affect them the most, then the early diagnosis is more likely. It is important to be aware of the different types of cancers that women are most likely to be diagnosed with, and what their symptoms might be.
Colon cancer is one of America’s most widespread cancers as well as the leading cause of cancer mortality in the country. It readily affects both men and women, but due to men’s predisposition to lifestyles that could eventually cause it, women might think that it would not affect them as much. However, according to the American Cancer Society, the same number of men and women are affected by colon cancer.
Colon cancer is entirely treatable and preventable. It can be avoided even before it begins. Through regular screenings, such as a colonoscopy, can easily determine a person’s colon cancer risk. Regular screenings for this disease should start at age 50 and further onward, repeated every ten years or so. Doctors will easily be able to find anything that might possibly be out of the ordinary. Other options include a fecal occult blood testing or a DNA stool test called a Cologuard, which alerts doctors of gene changes that are potentially cancerous.
There is more than double the chance that a woman would get diagnosed with thyroid cancer over the last 20 years. It does not always cause symptoms, but most often the first sign of thyroid cancer is a thyroid nodule. This is when abnormal cells begin to grow in the thyroid gland. However, there is no need to fear as less than one percent of thyroid nodules turn out to be malignant or cancerous. When the nodule shows up cold on a scan, however, it is more likely to be malignant
Most thyroid cancers are treatable and indeed curable. Papillary and follicular thyroid cancer are by far the most common and most curable. If the patient is of a younger age, there is a more than 97 percent chance of being cured especially when found early and treated appropriately. This often is treated by the complete removal of the lobe that holds the cancer.
Remember not to rush into over-treatment of a nodule, however. It is unlikely that a nodule would be cancerous, and even if it were, it may even simply require removing half of the gland. There would then be no need for replacement hormones.
Endometrial cancer begins in a woman’s uterus. It usually begins by growing at the layer of cells that are found in the lining of the uterus. Another name for this type of cancer is uterine cancer. This abnormal growth of cells have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body, which is why it is so important to have it diagnosed as soon as possible.
However, it is more likely to immediately detect the presence of this cancer, as it frequently causes abnormal vaginal bleeding. If this happens outside the menstrual cycle, the woman is immediately alerted that something is amiss and can see her doctor immediately. Other signs and symptoms of this cancer apart from the unusual bleeding is pelvic pain, and abnormal, watery, or blood-tinged vaginal discharge.
Endometrial cancer is often cured by surgically removing a woman’s uterus. To help protect a woman from getting this cancer, staying at a healthy weight is encouraged as the cancer is twice more prevalent in overweight women, and more than three times in obsess women. As fat cells secrete estrogen, it can cause the cancerous changes.
Another of the most prevalent of cancers in the United States, this cancer has risen by 98 percent in women over the last four decades. Even more alarming is the fact that even if a woman is not a smoker, they still might develop this cancer, as more than half the cases of lung cancer in women do. One of the theories as to why it’s so prevalent in women is due to secondhand smoke, or through estrogen fueling cancerous cells.
The most obvious way to protect one’s self from this form of cancer is to simply not smoke, and to stay far away from secondhand smoke as this can still increase your risk of developing cancer by up to 30 percent. Studies have also shown that one of the protective ways against lung cancer, particularly for smokers, is to take aspirin, so consult your doctor.
By far, this is the most prevalent among women. In fact, it is such a concern among women that there is an entire month dedicated to keeping women alert for this cancer. One in eight women will develop this cancer within her lifetime. However, just as with the recent trends in cancer mortality, the number of deaths that come about from breast cancer began to decrease from 2000 and went down by about 7 percent from 2002 and 2003. If detected early enough, it has a five-year survival rate of an amazing 100 percent.
Above all, early detection is the most important here. Regular mammograms are the most vital, with tests beginning at age 45. However, even younger women can start testing for this themselves through carefully checking their breasts for unusual lumps. Lifestyle habits are also important. Being sedentary with a high-fat diet, and consuming copious amounts of alcohol can also increase breast cancer risk.
Remember that with all these forms of cancers, early detection remains the number one priority. Cancer doesn’t have a true cure yet, but as they say, prevention is the best cure.