Cancer Facts for Women
Breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin, and ovarian cancers are among the most common cancers in women. Knowing about these cancers and what you can do to help prevent or detect them early (when they’re small, haven’t spread, and are potentially easier to treat) might save your life.
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Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. It may strike at any age, but the risk increases with age. Some people may have a higher risk of breast cancer than others due to a variety of factors. Every woman, however, should be aware of the risks of breast cancer and what she can do to reduce her risk.
Cancer of the colon or rectum is known as colorectal cancer. Being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, a diet high in red and processed meats, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, age, and a family-related history of colon cancer or tumors are all risk factors for colorectal cancer.
Endometrial cancer is endometrial cancer (the inner lining of the uterus). The risk of endometrial cancer increases as a woman grows older. Things that affect hormone levels, such as taking progesterone-free estrogen and taking tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment or lowering the risk of breast cancer, may increase a woman’s chance of getting this cancer. Having early menstrual periods, late menopause, a history of infertility, or not having children, may also increase the risk.
Lung cancer is most commonly caused by exposure to chemicals and other particles in the air. Although smoking tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer, not all people with lung cancer are smokers.
Lung cancer is most commonly caused by exposure to chemicals and other particles in the air. Although smoking tobacco is the leading cause of lung cancer, not all people with lung cancer are smokers. Some may be former smokers, and some may never have smoked at all. Not all lung cancers can be avoided. But there are things you can do that might help to reduce your risk. If you’re not smoking, don’t start, and avoid breathing in other people’s smoke.
Chronic infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most important risk factor for cervical cancer. You can have HPV through intimate skin-to-skin contact, such as having a vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. Other risk factors for cervical cancer include smoking, having a weakened immune system, having a chlamydia infection, being overweight, being exposed to or taking certain hormone treatments, and not having regular cervical cancer screening tests.
Anyone can have skin cancer, but people with fair skin are more likely to have skin cancer than people with darker skin. The majority of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are caused by unregulated skin exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that is less common than other forms of skin cancer, but it is more severe because it has a higher proclivity for growing and spreading. Melanoma is more likely in people who have had other forms of skin cancers or who have a close family member who has had melanoma.
While ovarian cancer can strike at any age, it is more common in older women. Women who have never had children or who have had their first child after the age of 35 are at a higher risk of developing this cancer. Women who have used estrogen alone as a hormone replacement treatment have a higher chance of developing breast cancer.
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