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In the United States, cancer is second only to heart disease as the top killer. To put this in perspective, one in four Americans will ultimately succumb to cancer. While having a conversation about cancer might be scary, being prepared with facts about the disease is extremely important. Understanding the most prevalent forms of cancer in women, methods of early detection, and the factors and behaviors that might increase your risk of getting cancer can help you put your energy where it is needed: on maintaining your health. This article covers some of the most important information a woman may have to reduce her risk of acquiring the most frequent types of cancer in women.
The Most Common Cancer in Women
Skin cancer and breast cancer are the two most frequent types of cancer for females. The former is due to UV damage, which causes an abnormal proliferation of skin cells. The second starts in breast cells and may go to the lymph nodes in your chest and shoulders. A projected 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women and 2,620 new cases in males were diagnosed in the United States alone in 2020.
How Was the Number One Cancer in Women Found?
The National Cancer Institute and other organizations’ statistics on cancer incidence and mortality rates were used in the process of compiling the list of cancers that occur the most often. It was determined that a disease should be evaluated for inclusion on the list of common cancers if it was predicted to have an annual incidence of 40,000 or more in 2022. The number of newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the United States is expected to reach around 290,560 in 2022, making it the most common disease on the list. Cancer of the prostate and cancer of the lung are the second and third most common kinds of illnesses, respectively.
Female Cancer Types
Skin, breast, lung, colorectal, and endometrial cancer are the most frequent forms of the disease among American women. Cancers of the cervix and ovaries are major health concerns for women everywhere. Cancer treatment success rates improve with earlier diagnosis.
Aside from skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. You’re not immune to it just because you’re getting older; the odds increase with age. There may be differences in the likelihood of developing breast cancer between different women. However, every woman needs to be aware of the dangers associated with breast cancer and the steps they may take to mitigate those risks.
Cancer that develops in the colon or rectum is called colorectal cancer. Being overweight or obese, not getting enough exercise, eating a lot of red and processed meat, smoking, drinking heavily, becoming older, and having a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps are all risk factors for different types of cancer in females.
In women, endometrial cancer is called endometrial cancer (the inner lining of the uterus). The risk of endometrial cancer grows as a woman gets older. Hormonal changes, such as those caused by the use of estrogen without progesterone or the administration of tamoxifen for the treatment of breast cancer or the prevention of breast cancer, may raise a woman’s risk of developing this disease. Additional risk factors include:
- Early menstruation onset
- Delayed menopause.
- A history of infertility
Endometrial cancer is also more likely to develop in women who are overweight, have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer (particularly HNPCC or Lynch syndrome), or have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Endometrial cancer risk may be higher in women with breast or ovarian cancer.
While smoking is by far the most common risk factor for developing lung cancer, this does not mean that only smokers are susceptible to developing the illness. While some have probably never tried smoking, others may have smoked at some time in their lives. Lung cancer is almost often brought on by long-term contact with various chemicals and other airborne particles.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of chronic infection in women and is the most significant risk factor for cervical cancer. HPV is spread by close, personal contact with an infected person, most often through sexual acts, including vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse. Smoking, impaired immunity, prior chlamydia infection, obesity, exposure to or use of certain hormone medications, and a lack of routine screening for cervical cancer all increase the likelihood that a woman may get the disease.
While anybody is at risk for developing skin cancer, those with lighter skin are more likely to have any adverse effects. Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer cases are brought on by years of unprotected exposure to UV radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. Melanoma is a kind of skin cancer that is more hazardous than other forms of skin cancer because it grows and spreads faster. Melanoma risk is higher for persons with other forms of skin cancer or a close relative who has had melanoma.
Ovarian cancer is more common in older women, although it may develop at any age. This malignancy may be more common in women who have never given birth or had their first child after age 35. Ovarian cancer is more common in women with either ovarian or breast cancer or a family history of either kind of cancer. Despite this, ovarian cancer may develop in women without any of the above diseases or risk factors.
Symptoms of Cancer in Women
Presymptomatic detection of cancer by screening is possible. If you pay close enough attention to your body, you may also learn to recognize early warning signals. Something new or unusual that lasts for weeks is cause for concern, so if you experience this, please contact your doctor. Some symptoms that can indicate cancer are not always caused by malignancy. Here are 17 warning signs, nevertheless, that might mean you need to see a doctor:
Menstrual Irregularities or Pelvic Discomfort
Period pains and irregular periods are common experiences for most women. However, chronic discomfort or abnormalities in your cycle might indicate gynecological malignancies, including cervical, uterine, and ovarian cancer.
Bad Bowel Movements
Cancers of the colon, prostate, or bladder, among others, may cause noticeable alterations in physiological processes. Constipation or diarrhea that won’t go away, bloody or dark stools, tarry stools, an increase in urination, or blood in the urine are all warning flags.
Everyone experiences bloating from time to time. On the other hand, persistent bloating that lasts for more than two weeks has the potential to be a sign of ovarian cancer in addition to other gastrointestinal cancers.
Visible Changes in Breasts
Changes in the nipple, a new lump or dimple, discoloration, or discharge that is not usual are all instances of such modifications. Although breast cancer is more prevalent in women, men are not completely safe from developing the illness.
A cough that has lasted for more than two weeks, especially if it is dry, might be an indication of lung cancer.
It is possible that a brain tumor is the cause of a headache that has persisted after being treated with conventional medications for more than two weeks.
Having a Hard Time Swallowing
Problems swallowing or the sensation that food is stuck in your throat for more than two weeks may indicate cancer of the throat, lungs, or stomach.
Getting a bruise on your shin from crashing into the coffee table is acceptable. However, if you suddenly start to acquire bruises where you haven’t been bumping into anything, it may be a sign of blood cancer.
Recurrent Illness Due To Infection Or Fever
Lymphoma and leukemia may weaken the immune system to the point that repeated fever or a rash of infections are signs of the disease.
Sores, lesions, or persistently painful places in the mouth might be signs of oral cancer, particularly in heavy smokers and drinkers.
Abnormalities In Skin
A doctor’s opinion is needed if a mole or birthmark has changed in appearance. This may be done in person or through video chat.
It is important to be checked out if you’re experiencing persistent pain in any part of your body that doesn’t seem to have a clear explanation and doesn’t improve with therapy as usual.
A shift in your energy level that persists despite normal sleep patterns may indicate leukemia or lymphoma.
Spotting After Menopause
While there might be a variety of causes, your doctor may want to check for cervical or uterine cancer if the problem continues.
Nausea Or Abdominal Discomfort
Cancer of the liver, pancreas, or intestines may cause unusual pain that persists for more than two weeks.
The scales’ balance is always shifting. Losing weight without changing your diet or experiencing a lack of appetite are red flags for many malignancies, particularly those that have spread.
It is important to check for any new lumps or masses that don’t go away. Swollen lymph nodes are a common symptom of the common cold, but if the condition remains after your symptoms have subsided, you should see a doctor.
How Do Women Get Cancer?
Each year, around 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer for the first time anywhere in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 20% of these cases might have been prevented. There are three key modifiable risk factors for acquiring cancer: one’s diet, whether or not they smoke, and how much alcohol they consume. Over the next several years, women’s dietary habits will most likely have the most potential to vary in their effects.
Over half a million new cases of lady cancers each year may be traced back to being overweight or inactive. Obesity is connected not just to cancers affecting both sexes, such as kidney and bowel cancer, but also to malignancies that primarily affect women, such as endometrial and ovarian cancer. Although there is some evidence that prostate cancer may be more aggressive in overweight men, no analogous direct relationship has been demonstrated between obesity and malignancies that only males develop. Because of this, it’s possible to explain why cancer incidence is rising more rapidly in women than in males. Research has indicated that women with a higher body mass index have a higher risk of developing breast and uterine cancers (BMI).
The incidence of these tumors has skyrocketed with the prevalence of obesity. Some estimates place obesity as a contributing factor in as many as one-third of all occurrences of womb cancer, which has almost doubled the number of cases identified annually in the UK since the early 1990s. The complex relationship between obesity and various malignancies is likely exacerbated by the body’s fat cells’ increased production of estrogen.
Deficiency In Certain Hormones
The overproduction of cancer cells is directly linked to the presence of estrogen, which triggers the production of a protein called the estrogen receptor in most cases of breast and womb cancer. There is a natural quantity of estrogen in the bodies of all humans, but for postmenopausal women, that level is mostly influenced by their body fat percentage. Overweight women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, and treatment outcomes tend to worsen.
Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer. The global prevalence of women’s alcohol use has surpassed that of males, according to research released last year. This is concerning since alcohol consumption is associated with a higher risk of developing several different malignancies, including those of the mouth and upper neck. More males than women are diagnosed with these diseases, but if women increase their alcohol use, they will likely become more vulnerable.
Another important avoidable cause of cancer in women is smoking. In the UK, lung cancer is currently the second most frequent cancer in both men and women. Historically, women had a lower risk of developing lung cancer than males because they smoked fewer cigarettes. Smoking was traditionally seen as a male activity, but in the middle of the twentieth century, a growing number of women began smoking alongside the declining male trend.
Most Common Cancer in American Women
Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among American women. About one-third of all new cancer cases in women occur in the cervix. When it comes to the incidence of breast cancer in the United States in 2023, the American Cancer Society predicts the following
- Invasive breast cancer will affect around 297,790 women this year.
- DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ, is a kind of early-stage breast cancer.
- The disease will claim the lives of around 43,700 women this year.
What Is the Leading Cause of Cancer Deaths in Women?
Lung cancer accounted for 23% of all cancer fatalities in the United States. Cancers of the pancreatic (8%), female breast (7%), prostate (5%), liver (5%), and intrahepatic bile duct (5%) also accounted for a significant percentage of all cancer-related deaths. Together, these “other cancers” accounted for less than 5% of all cancer fatalities. In 2020,
- Deaths from lung cancer were 136,084 in the year. (63,135 females and 72,949 males).
- Colon cancer was responsible for the deaths of 51,869 persons. (23,826 females and 28,043 males).
- Deaths from pancreatic cancer were 46,774. (22,495 females and 24,279 males).
- A total of 42,275 women lost their lives to breast cancer.
- A total of 32,707 men lost their lives to prostate cancer.
- Liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer caused the deaths of 28,227 persons. (9,591 females and 18,636 males).
Cancer is the second biggest cause of death in the United States, so arming yourself with knowledge about the illness and the preventative and diagnostic measures you can take might save your life.
Sometimes we miss the signs of illness until they are further advanced. Because of this, there is no cure, and the sufferer and their loved ones must endure the disease for the remaining years of their lives. If you’re going through a hard patch because you stopped therapy, know that you’re not alone.
All American Hospice is here to provide you or your loved one with compassionate care and support while you fight this fatal illness. Our professional health advisors are here to help you live a life free of stress and anxiety. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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