World Cancer Day 2023: Common cancers that are affecting women

Ahead of World Cancer Day,, which falls on February 4, empower yourself with the knowledge of common cancers in women.
World Cancer Day
Know common types of cancer in women. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 1 Feb 2023, 18:56 pm IST
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World Cancer Day, which falls on February 4, is the day when people from across the globe come together to raise awareness of cancer. It is a public health issue and governments in different countries are trying to control it. Yes, even thinking about cancer can be frightening, but having knowledge about it is the way to go. So, read on to know about the most common types of cancer in women and how to lower the risks associated with these types of cancer.

HealthShots got in touch with Dr Tejinder Kataria, chairperson, Radiation Oncology and Cancer Center, Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram, to know about common cancers in women.

Common cancers affecting women

There are over 200 types of cancer that can affect women as well as men.

common cancers in women
Know all about common cancers in women and which one of them is most lethal. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Common cancers in women are

• Breast cancer
• Lung cancer
• Colon cancer
• Cervical cancer

Dr Kataria says that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, followed by colon cancer, which also known as colorectal cancer, lung cancer and cervical cancer.

Most lethal cancer

Lung cancer is considered to be the most lethal cancer, leading to 21 percent deaths in the affected people globally, according to the World Cancer Research Fund International. Breast cancer is the cause of 15 percent mortality followed by 8 percent deaths due to colon cancer.

Body parts affected by common cancers

1. Lung cancer

Going by the name, if someone has lung cancer either one or both lungs will be affected. But it may also involve the lymph glands within the chest or even neck. Sometimes in advanced stage, there may be involvement of some of the bones or brain, says the expert.

2. Breast cancer

Breast cancer affects one or both breasts and may travel to lymph glands in the underarm leading to swelling. Breast cancer can even spread to lungs, bones, brain and liver in late stages.

3. Colon cancer

It involves the large intestine and can spread to liver, lungs and/or brain in advanced stage.

4. Cervical cancer

It affects the mouth of the uterus and it may spread to the vagina or urinary bladder, rectum and may involve lymph glands in the vicinity of uterus or abdomen.

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Signs of cancers

1. Lung cancer

There may be persistent cough for more than three weeks, breathlessness, non-resolving fever, blood in sputum, headache or body ache in case it has spread to other organs and even weight loss.

2. Breast cancer

A swelling or nodule in the breast or a swelling in the arm pit could mean that you have breast cancer. There may be pulling up or change in the nipple texture or bleeding or discharge from the nipple.

3. Colon cancer

In case of colon cancer, there may be alternating constipation and diarrhoea. Pain and bleeding while passing stool are also some of the signs of the cancer (tests to diagnose colon cancer).

4. Cervical cancer

Intermittent bleeding, bleeding after sex, difficulty in passing urine or stool are some of the signs of cervical cancer that you should be aware of.

Dr Kataria says cancer may mimic signs and symptoms of other diseases, so you need to be extra-vigilant about the persistent symptoms beyond three weeks that are affecting you.

common cancers in women
You can always take steps to lower risks of cancers. Image Courtesy; Adobe Stock

Tips to lower risks associated with common cancers in women

The risk of lung cancer can be reduced by quitting smoking as tobacco is the single most important factor responsible for lung cancer (how to quit smoking). Another factor is pollution, so planting more trees can help in a great way. This will do good to you and others as well.

How many times have we heard people promoting healthy diet? Too many times, and to prevent colon cancer, a diet rich in fiber with fruits and vegetables, and grains is recommended. Women with a family history of the disease are at a high risk and it is recommended for them to have annual colonoscopy beyond the age of 50 years, says the expert.

Maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding smoking and working out are the antidotes to obesity, which is a known factor for increasing the risk of breast cancer.

To prevent cervical cancer, vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) is recommended for girls between 9-26 years. Also, try to avoid having sex with multiple people.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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