How To Protect Yourself From Five Types Of Cancer: Instructions For Women

Marko Balašević Author: Marko Balašević Time for reading: ~8 minutes Last Updated: November 19, 2022
How To Protect Yourself From Five Types Of Cancer: Instructions For Women

The article tells about the most common types of cancer among women in descending order: colon cancer, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer. Experts tell how to better diagnose these diseases and how to protect yourself from them.

Every year, 160,000 people in Ukraine hear the terrible words: "You have cancer." Many people suffer from oncological diseases due to bad heredity and simply due to an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances. But many types of cancer are treatable and their development can be prevented. Research shows that two-thirds of cancer deaths can be prevented!

In fact, you can control a lot yourself: provided you know what you're up against. American leading specialists in the field of oncology told which types of cancer cause special concern and how you can help yourself. Here are five types of cancer that most often affect women.

Colon cancer

A third of patients die from this type of cancer within five years. You might be surprised to learn that colon cancer affects both women and men equally each year, according to the American Cancer Society. "The good news is that it's almost always preventable," says David Greenwald, M.D., director of clinical gastroenterology and endoscopy at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

How to protect yourself from colon cancer:

 

 

Get checked regularly. Currently, it is best to give preference to the colonoscopy method. Patients from the age of 50 are subjected to this procedure. The survey is repeated every 10 years. Colonoscopy is a medical endoscopic diagnostic method, during which the doctor examines and evaluates the condition of the inner surface of the large intestine with the help of an endoscope.

An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that is inserted into the rectum. In this case, the doctor can clearly see when something is wrong. "A colonoscopy not only diagnoses colon cancer, but also allows the doctor to find and remove polyps before they turn malignant," says Greenwald.

How to diagnose colon cancer and who is at risk? Other types of colon cancer diagnosis include:

  • fecal occult blood tests (the doctor examines excrement for the presence of blood, which may indicate cancer);
  • a non-invasive test based on the detection of DNA in stool analysis known as Cologuard.

In the new test, a stool sample is analyzed for DNA signs of cancer or precancerous changes. Stool samples are taken by the patient at home in the usual way and sent by mail, the test does not require bowel preparation or dietary changes, and he has no medical contraindications.

According to Greenwald, the disadvantage of both studies is that there are false positive results, and then it is necessary to undergo a colonoscopy.

Cancer of the thyroid gland

Cases of thyroid cancer among women are three times more common than among men: for example, it affects every forty-something woman over 50 years old. Unfortunately, this disease also occurs in those who are younger. The five-year survival rate for this disease is 80% of patients. According to experts, over the past 20 years, the chances of finding yourself with thyroid cancer have doubled. Nevertheless, there is no reason to panic!

 

"We do not think that the number of patients is increasing. When we talked about statistics, we focused on the random diagnosis of cancer. For example, doctors did MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) to establish the cause of periodic migraine attacks and defeat the disease or to understand why there are neck pains,” says Edmund Prybytkin, licensed physician, specialist in thyroid cancer glands at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia (USA).

Experts prove: despite the fact that the number of situations where thyroid cancer was accidentally detected has increased dramatically, the mortality rates have remained unchanged.

How to protect yourself from thyroid cancer:

 

Avoid unnecessary treatment. If your doctor finds a small nodule in the area of ​​the thyroid gland, change your attitude to this problem: learn more information and do not rush to do surgery, says Prybitkin. And if you end up needing surgery, you can remove only half of the thyroid (instead of the whole). In this case, according to the expert, you do not even need to take hormones that restore the function of the thyroid gland.

If your doctor insists that the entire thyroid needs to be removed, even though the nodule is less than 1 cm, consult another specialist. The operation contains certain risks (including damage to the vocal cords). In case of surgery, the patient will have to take thyroid hormones for the rest of his life.

If your doctor insists that the entire thyroid needs to be removed, even though the nodule is less than 1 cm, consult another specialist.

Endometrial cancer

With uterine cancer, 35% of patients die within five years. But if the woman is not yet 50-90% recover.

Endometrial cancer is also called "uterine body cancer". This disease mainly affects women in the postmenopausal period (average age - 60 years). Unfortunately, there are currently no good diagnostic tests to detect this type of cancer in the early stages, says Cynthia Thomson, PhD, at Arizona State University (USA).

How to protect yourself from endometrial cancer:
 

 

Maintain a normal body weight. Endometrial cancer is twice as common in overweight women and three times more common in obese women. This is evidenced by the data of the American Cancer Society. Fat cells (lipocytes) secrete estrogen, which, in turn, can provoke the growth of cancer cells, Thomson explains. If you are in the pre-menopausal period and protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy during sex, consider taking birth control pills for several years. In just 5 years, in this case, the probability that endometrial cancer will develop decreases by 25%. Such data were published by experts who conducted research in 2015 in Great Britain. These details can be found in the journal Lancet Oncology.

 
Lung cancer

Lung cancer is a very aggressive disease, because only 9% of those affected by it survive for 5 years. According to the American Lung Association, the number of women diagnosed with lung cancer is staggering. The fact that in half of the cases this type of cancer is found in women who have never smoked is shocking. The reason for this still remains a mystery.

 

According to the theory of scientists, women's lungs are more susceptible to passive smoking and to the production of the hormone estrogen, which may provoke the development of cancer cells. This is what Teresa Beversa, a licensed physician, specialist in cancer prevention at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, located in Houston (USA), says.

How to protect yourself from lung cancer:

 

Do not smoke and stay away from second-hand smoke, which increases the risk of cancer by 30%. If you have smoked in the past or are frequently exposed to secondhand smoke, talk to your doctor. He may recommend that you take 325 mg of aspirin regularly. Studies have shown that these preventive measures are very effective in preventing the development of lung cancer, and not only in smokers, says Beversa.

Breast cancer

For some reason, this disease in our country is considered safer than thyroid cancer. But in reality it is not so: 45% of patients do not survive the five-year mark. Every year, 16,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in Ukraine.

In principle, breast cancer is not the most common type of cancer among women. After all, skin cancer occupies a leading position. But the American Cancer Society calls breast cancer the most common among the fair sex, as it does not include two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) in its rankings, as they are rarely life-threatening. In general, there are three main forms of skin cancer:

  • basal cell cancer;
  • squamous cell carcinoma;
  • melanoma
 

Basal cell skin cancer develops in many people, but it does not metastasize and therefore, in most cases, is not life-threatening. Squamous cell cancer develops less often than basal cell cancer, but it is an aggressive form of cancer that can lead to the death of a person if he is not given the necessary help in time. But melanoma is the rarest, but also the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma can kill a person in a few months and is treatable only in the early stages of development.

Returning to the topic of breast cancer: it occurs in one woman in eight. Experts report the good news: After rising for 20 years, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer began to decline in 2000 and fell by about 7% between 2002 and 2003. Perhaps the reason is that women began to take less hormonal pills to treat menopause symptoms. (Incidence rates have remained largely unchanged since then). Moreover, breast cancer, which is found in the earliest stages, allows you to practically guarantee life for the next five years.

How to protect yourself from breast cancer:

 

Regular mammograms are recommended: this is crucial. Ask your doctor when you should start taking it. The American Cancer Society recommends having this test annually starting at age 45.

At the same time, carefully examine your lifestyle. "A sedentary lifestyle, excess weight and consumption of food with a high fat content, especially animal, increases the risk of developing breast cancer," says Jaime Abraham, MD, director of the oncology center at the Cleveland Clinic (USA).

Also, be careful with alcohol. Regular consumption of alcoholic beverages is associated with the development of breast cancer. Research shows that the more you drink spirits, the greater the risk.

Thanks to scientists and the dissemination of information, in recent years many people have become much more aware of various serious diseases, including cancer. They say that in addition to a person's lifestyle, diet and environmental influences, our fears and negative thoughts have a huge impact on our health. That is why it is so important for everyone, regardless of gender, to be attentive to their health, sow bright thoughts and take into account factors that can provoke the development of cancer.

 

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