Know About the Cancers That Affect Women

Posted: February 26, 2018

Lifestyle choices, environmental factors and family medical history are often linked to the diagnosis of cancer. While family history cannot be controlled, lifestyle modifications certainly lower the risk. Every year, millions of women get affected by cancer. Knowing about the cancer signs and symptoms will help to pick it up early and to get it treated.

Here are most common cancers that affect women.

Breast Cancer

With more than 1 million cases of breast cancer getting registered in India every year, it has become the most common cancer affecting women. The common breast cancer symptoms include:




  • Lump in the breast or armpit – can be painless or painful
  • Inverted nipple
  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Dimpling or skin irritation
  • Persistent pain in the breast or nipple

Better health awareness and availability of breast cancer screening programs and treatment facilities will have a favourable and positive clinical outcome.

Cervical Cancer

It is the second most common cancer among females in India. Risk factors for cervical cancer include unprotected sex with multiple partners, poor hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases and multiple pregnancies. The symptoms of cervical cancer are:

  • Pain during sex
  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex and menopause

Ovarian Cancer

Affecting the ovaries, ovarian cancer often goes undetected and is mostly diagnosed after it has spread. Reproductive history, age, obesity and family history are the common causes of ovarian cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy are the most common treatment options for ovarian cancer. The common symptoms of this cancer include:

  • Bloating
  • Trouble in eating or early feeling of fullness of the stomach
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently
  • Menstrual changes.
  • Painful sex
  • Pain in the back, lower abdomen and pelvis
  • Heartburn and indigestion
  • Irritable bowel movement

Rectal and Colon Cancer

Also known as colorectal cancer, rectal and colon is another common cancer that affects women. It starts in the colon or the rectum and is commonly located at the lower end of the digestive tract. Risk factors for this cancer include smoking, alcohol abuse, Type 2 diabetes, a diet rich in red or processed meat and obesity. Those who are over the age of 50 are at a higher risk and are advised to get screened at the best cancer hospital in India for timely diagnosis. Common symptoms of colon and rectal cancer include:

  • Changed stool consistency
  • Changed bowel movements
  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Blood in stool

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is usually detected in its early stage, the treatment works well in most of the cases. Exposure to radiation, age, female, gender and family history increase the chances of thyroid cancer. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • Swelling or lump in the neck
  • Pain in neck and sometimes ears
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • A persistent cough
  • Breathing issues and constant wheezing

Lung and Bronchus Cancer

Most commonly seen in people who smoke. Lung cancer is becoming increasingly common in women. It is one of those cancers that can be easily avoided by quitting smoking, avoiding passive smoking and by wearing a mask in areas that have a high rate of toxins in the air. The treatment of this condition generally includes immunotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy. Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Cough with blood
  • Chest pain
  • Unexplained weight loss

Esophagus Cancer

Also known as esophageal carcinoma, this cancer arises from the food pipe. Alcohol, smoking and Barrett’s esophagus increases the risk of esophagus cancer. The main treatment includes all the 3 modalities viz. surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Common symptoms of esophagus cancer include:

  • Difficulty in swallowing (Dysphagia)- starting from solids and then proceeding for liquids as well
  • Pain while swallowing food
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Backache

Stomach Cancer

Also known as gastric cancer, stomach cancer usually instigates in the mucus-producing cells lining the stomach. Lifestyle habits play a big role in development of stomach cancer. Common treatment options include – medication, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • Indigestion
  • Bloated feeling after meals
  • Pain in upper abdomen (tummy)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting

Mouth Cancer

Also known as oral cavity cancer, oral or mouth cancers starts with a sore in mouth that doesn’t go away. It can start in any part of the mouth including cheeks, lips, tongue and floor of the mouth. Common symptoms include:

  • Sores that don’t heal and have turned red
  • Sores that bleed
  • Stiffness or pain in the jaw
  • Painful and difficult swallowing and chewing
  • Sore throat
  • A lump on the skin or lining of the mouth

These listed cancer types are highly common in women and if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, seeking consultation from any of the best cancer hospitals in India is advisable for an early diagnosis. It becomes increasingly difficult to treat any cancer as it advances and starts spreading to other organs. When diagnosed with cancer, consulting an oncologist in Delhi to get the right cancer treatment should always be the first step. Few of the reputed cancer hospitals in India like Max Healthcare are equipped with modern facilities and world-class treatment options that have given many patients a new ray of hope and a positive perspective towards life.

Image via Pexels

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