Preventing Women’s Cancer
Prevention is crucial when it comes to breast and gynaecological cancers, which account for approximately 50% of all cancers occurring in women. Advances in testing, screening and genetic analysis have made it possible to prevent these cancers or detect them at precancerous or early stages.
Know Your Risks
Understanding the risk factors associated with breast and gynaecological cancers is essential for proactive prevention.
Some key risk factors include:
Family History: Inherited mutations in genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2 significantly increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancers. Additionally, some families may have an increased risk of endometrial cancer, often associated with lynch syndrome.
Obesity: Excess weight contributes to increased estrogen production and chronic inflammation, elevating the risk of breast and endometrial cancers.
Age: Most women's cancers occur after the age of 40, except for cervical cancer, which can occur earlier.
HPV Infection: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a leading cause of cervical cancer and can also contribute to vaginal and vulvar cancers.
Signs And Symptoms
Being aware of the signs and symptoms associated with women's cancers can aid in early detection.
Some common indications include:
Breast Cancer: Presence of a lump in the breast, nipple discharge or skin changes on the breast.
Cervical Cancer: Abnormal vaginal bleeding unrelated to menstruation, prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding, pain and bleeding during sex, postmenopausal bleeding, and abnormal vaginal discharge.
Endometrial Cancer: Abnormal bleeding, postmenopausal bleeding or spotting, and heavy bleeding during menstruation.
Ovarian Cancer: Abdominal bloating or swelling, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal issues, frequent urination, and abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Vaginal Cancer: Abnormal vaginal bleeding and the presence of a palpable mass.
Vulvar Cancer: Constant itching, change in vulvar colour, abnormal bleeding or discharge unrelated to menstruation, and the presence of a palpable nodule, mass or sore.
Regular screenings for precancerous conditions and timely treatment are crucial. Visit specialised clinics that offer comprehensive clinical assessments and screening programs for breast and gynaecological cancers.
Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of cancer. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and managing stress.
Vaccination: HPV vaccination can protect against cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers. Speak with a healthcare provider about the appropriate vaccination schedule.
Genetic Testing and Counselling: If you have a family history of cancer or other risk factors, consider genetic testing and counselling to assess your individual risk and develop a personalised prevention plan.
Prevention is key when it comes to women's cancers. By understanding the risk factors, recognising the signs and symptoms, and implementing preventive strategies such as regular screenings, healthy lifestyle choices, vaccination and genetic testing, women can take proactive steps to reduce the incidence and impact of breast and gynaecological cancers. For cancer treatment in India, consult a healthcare professional who will provide personalised advice and guidance based on your specific circumstances.
If you're seeking expert advice regarding oncology, you can consult with Dr. Rucha Kaushik Consultant - Breast Cancer or Dr. Sampada Dessai - Consultant - Gynaecological Cancer at P. D. Hinduja Hospital & Medical Research Centre in Mahim, Mumbai.
To book an appointment, please contact the hospital at the following phone numbers: 022 6766 8181 or 022 4510 8181.
*Information source: Bombay Times
Consultant - Breast Cancer
Consultant - Gynaecological Cancer