Common Cancers in Women

Written by Janelle Lawrence

On September 21, 2012
When it comes to cancer, both men and women are equally at risk. However, there are some types of cancer women get exclusively or more frequently than men. In this article, we’ll discuss the 7 most common type of cancer in women and some natural tips to prevent them.

7 Types of Cancer Women Get

  1. Breast

Breast cancer. These are probably the two scariest words a woman can hear in her lifetime. Celebrities Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, and Christina Applegate have all battled this disease in the spotlight, making it one of the most talked about and widely-publicized cancers in the world. According to Cancer.org, over 226,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the year 2012. Over 39,000 of those women will die from the disease.

With those sobering statistic, it’s important for women to be wise about their breast health. This means early detection and prevention. Breast self exams are an important part of early detection and should be performed monthly after your menstrual cycle. It is best not to perform this exam right before your menstrual cycle or during your PMS week as breasts tend to be lumpier, bumpier, and tender during this time.

When it comes to preventing breast cancer, women should look to their diets. This means eating a full serving of cancer-fighting cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, mustard greens, radish, cauliflower, bok choy,Brussels’s sprouts, collard greens, or watercress) each day and fermented organic soy products such as miso, tofu, natto, and tempeh.

  1. Ovarian

Ovarian cancer is often among the most fatal of cancers in women. This is because this type of cancer often remains undetected until it spreads from the ovaries to the abdomen and pelvis. Unlike breast cancer, which can be detected with a lump or other breast abnormality, ovarian cancer often has no symptoms until it begins to metastasize.

Once ovarian cancer does start to spread, it often mimics other digestive and bladder conditions. Symptoms of metastasizing ovarian cancer include:

    • Pelvic Pain
    • Abdominal Pressure
    • Frequent Urination
    • Chronic Indigestion, Nausea, Gas
    • Constipation
    • Lower Back Pain
    • Abdominal Girth
    • Persistent Fatigue

If you have one or more of the above symptoms, don’t panic. It could be any number of more benign disorders. Book a visit with your doctor for a full physical and tell him what you’re experiencing.

  1. Lung

Are you a smoker? Do you live in a house with smokers? Have you ever worked in a factor with asbestos or other hazardous chemicals? If so, you may be at increased risk of lung cancer. According to Cancer.gov, there will be well over 200,000 new cases of small-cell and non-small cell lung cancer this year. Of those patients, over 150,000 of them will die. This makes lung cancer one of the most deadly forms of carcinoma.

However, the good news is that women seem to respond better to treatment at all stages of the disease and have a higher rate of survival.

Symptoms of lung cancer include a new cough that doesn’t go away, pain when breathing, new wheezing, shoulder and upper back pain, coughing up bloody phlegm, problems swallowing, bulging of the fingers and toes, and rapid weight loss.

  1. Uterine

Another common cancer women get is uterine cancer. This type of cancer is rarely seen in women below the age of 40. Endometrial cancer has certain risk factors associated with it including diabetes, infertility, obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, never being pregnant, early menstruation, late menopause, and history of endometrial polyps.

In women with stage one uterine cancer, the most common treatment method is hysterectomy. Radiation treatment usually follows. For women with stage 2 or 3 uterine cancer, surgery, radiation, and hormonal treatments may be used.

  1. Colon

Colorectal cancer is the second most common form of cancer in Hispanic, Alaskan, Asian, and American Indian women and the third most common among Caucasian women. Women with chronic digestive conditions such as Celiac disease, crohn’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease are at increased risk for developing this type of cancer.

Depending on the progression of the disease, colon cancer treatment varies from surgery to remove all or part of the colon, colostomy, radiation, and chemotherapy. When it comes to colon cancer, early detection and prevention are your best bets.

Women over the age of 40 should get regular colon cancer screenings. If the idea of getting a colonoscopy intimidates you, you’re not alone. Many women and men are reluctant to go through this procedure. There are alternatives to detect colon cancer including blood tests, barium enemas, digital examination,MRI, CT scan, and endoscopy.

Diet is incredibly important when it comes to the prevention of colorectal cancer. Eating a diet filled with whole foods, plenty of fiber, and large quantities of pure drinking water can go a long way in keeping the oncologist away.

  1. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. The common cancer women get affects the lymphocytes, lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. Lymphoma can be a very invasive cancer that’s difficult to treat if not detected in its early stages. To detect this type of cancer, your doctor will perform a physical examination as well as take samples of your blood to check for abnormal cell growth. Depending on the progression of the disease, your doctor may also want to do a biopsy of your lymph nodes and imaging procedures such as CT scan, chest X-ray, and PET scan.

  1. Melanoma

Melanoma, while one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, is easily treatable if detected early. Among the types of cancer women get, melanoma shows the most noticeable outward signs. Usually this is a mole that has turned dark or spread out in an unusual shape. A new growth on your skin may also indicate the development of this common skin cancer. Skin cancer isn’t the only type of melanoma. Melanomas can also develop in the vagina, urinary tract, mouth, throat or eye.

African American women often develop subungual melanoma, a type of skin cancer that presents under a fingernail or toenail. These discolorations are often mistaken for a bruise.

Natural Cancer Prevention

No matter what type of cancer in women you’re most at risk for developing, there are some universal natural cancer prevention steps you can take. First and foremost, you must eat a healthy diet. This means cutting the processed food and chemical junk out of your life. Eating more whole food such as organic vegetables and fruit, lean meats, wild-caught fish, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds will give your body the nutrients it needs to fight cancer before it can take hold.

When it comes to skin cancer prevention, don’t lather on chemical-laden sunblock. Research has proven that there are carcinogenic chemicals in conventional sunscreen that can actually increase your chances of developing melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Ask your doctor to test your blood for a vitamin D deficiency. Millions of women and men worldwide do not have enough vitamin D in their blood, which can lead to the development of many type of cancer. If your levels are low, you can add a supplement of 2,000 I.U. to 5,000 I.U. per day depending on your doctor’s recommendations.

Also, exercise is extremely important in the prevention of common cancers in women. Regular physical activity boosts your immune system, cuts down on excess fat, and keeps your body’s defenses up and running the way they should be.

Stress is another factor in the development of cancer because of its ability to completely drain your immune system. Finding a healthy outlet for your stress such as yoga or meditation can not only add years to your life, but to your sanity as well.

In a world full of pollution and poor diet, it’s not wonder so many people are at risk for developing some type of cancer in their lifetime. If you’re a woman who’s worried about breast, lung or any other type of cancer, take comfort in the fact that you are in control. You can prevent cancer through your own lifestyle choices and you can even cure cancer through natural methods.

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