Many cancers don’t discriminate across gender. However, there are some types of cancer that are more common in men or women.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk or to detect it as early as possible.
The first step to decreasing the impact cancer can have on your life is gaining knowledge. It is important to know what you are at risk for, and what symptoms you need to monitor.
So what is the most common female cancer? The following is a list of cancers that are more common in women—learning what these cancers mean and how they might manifest as symptoms can save your life.
Common Female Cancer Risks You Should Know
Skin Cancer: The Most Common Female Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common female cancer. Women with fairer skin are especially vulnerable.
It is caused by excess exposure to ultraviolet light. Skin cancer is dangerous because it can go unnoticed for a long time.
It takes the shape of moles or dark spots on the skin. You can prevent skin cancer by wearing sunscreen or other protection when outside in the sun. It is also a good idea to avoid tanning beds.
Keep careful track of spots on your skin. If you see any new or darkening spots, call your doctor immediately.
Breast cancer is one of the most well-known types of cancer because it affects so many women. 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
Like many cancers, your risk increases as you age. Most women should start regular exams with a doctor around age 30. But if you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you should start even younger.
Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast or armpit. Sometimes, this lump will change the shape or size of the breast. Nipples turning inward or discharging are also symptoms of breast cancer.
It is recommended that women research their family history to determine if there is a pattern of breast cancer. Then, they should consult their doctor about how often they should be getting screenings.
Women should also get into the practice of conducting self-breast exams. If you need help learning how to do this, click here.
It is important to conduct self-exams regularly. Establishing a monthly routine can help you notice changes in your breasts.
In the last 20 years, the number of diagnosed cases of thyroid cancer has skyrocketed. However, experts believe this is due to detection methods improving in recent years. This is good news.
If you notice recurring neck or head pain, changes in your voice, or can feel a small nodule in your neck, you should let your doctor know. Very rarely are these nodules cause for immediate action. More than likely, your doctor will recommend frequent checkups to keep an eye on how it develops.
If you need surgery for your nodule, ask your doctor if it is necessary to remove the entire thyroid. Often the surgery can be done without such extensive measures.
If your doctor insists on such an invasive procedure, it is recommended that you get a second opinion. But do it quickly.
Another option is to pursue an alternative treatment for thyroid cancer. Often, these treatment plans use a combination of traditional and non-traditional approaches. The goal of this combination is to help you regain a clean bill of health.
Ovarian cancer is more common in older women. It tends to show up most commonly in women who never had a child, or who had their first child after the age of 30. The ovaries are the egg-producing parts of the female reproductive system.
Symptoms of ovarian cancer include abdominal swelling and pelvic pain. Digestive problems can also be indicators of ovarian cancer.
Many women say that they always feel like they have to urinate, and the feeling doesn’t go away. This can also be a symptom of ovarian cancer.
For prevention, schedule regular exams with your doctor. If you have a family history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, or non-polyposis colon cancer (HNPCC), you should schedule routine checkups with your doctor.
Endometrial cancer is also known as uterine cancer. It is cancer that forms in the endometrial lining of the uterus. It is most common in post-menopausal women.
Indicators of endometrial cancer include pain during sex or urination. Symptoms can also include vaginal discharge and bleeding.
Unfortunately, there is no way to preventatively screen for this cancer. The best way to minimize this cancer’s impact on you is to be knowledgeable of the symptoms and alert your doctor if you start to detect them.
Cervical cancer is common in women who have been diagnosed with HPV or HIV. It is also frequently detected in women who have experienced poor nutrition. The cervix is part of the female reproductive system.
Symptoms of this cancer include vaginal discharge or bleeding, and pain during sex. However, these symptoms typically don’t show up until the later stages of cancer. If you are detecting these symptoms, alert your doctor immediately.
The best way to preventatively screen for cervical cancers is to get PAP smears regularly. Women should start getting regular PAP smears in their early twenties. Consult your doctor about how often you should be getting one.
Armed with Knowledge
Even though skin cancer is the most common female cancer, there are many other cancers you need to be aware of. Being educated on the types of cancer that are most common in women is key to minimizing their impact on your life. You should be aware of the symptoms of different types of cancer and alert your doctor immediately if you start experiencing them.
By being aware of the symptoms, and regularly visiting your doctor, you could very well save your own life. If this post was helpful, find more useful information in our Health section.