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Cancer is a deadly disease that can affect people of different age groups. After, cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the second most common cause of death, across the globe. Not only, does it damage the infected organ but also leaves life-long damage to other parts of the body.
India has the third-highest number of cancer cases globally. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme, 1 in every 9 individuals is likely to suffer from cancer. With respect to women, the numbers are more shocking, as it is the most common disease amongst women. The lack of awareness around cancers like breast cancer, cervical cancer, etc. further worsens the condition in women. The primary reason for the high mortality rate of cancer in women is due to a lack of awareness on early screening and detection.
Some of the most common cancers in women are as follows:
It is one of the most common types of cancer detected in females of different age groups. It occurs due to the abnormal growth of certain cells around the breast and in most cases, develops around the duck responsible for carrying milk. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 1 in 22 women in India is suffering from this fatal disease. Often, it occurs to women in the age group of 35 to 40 years. With early detection and timely intervention, it is possible to cure this disease before it causes much damage to the body.
The cervix is the lower part of the female reproductive organ that connects the uterus to the vagina. In India, cervical cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women. It is most prevalent in the rural parts of the country due to a lack of awareness and hygiene practices. This disease can also be the outcome of a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV).
Every woman has two ovaries on either side of the uterus that is responsible for producing eggs and is one of the most important organs of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer is growing at a drastic rate among women of different age groups. Not only that, but the symptom of this disease also goes undetected in the initial days, which makes it even more dangerous. Hence, it is important to get into the habit of a routine check-up to detect any signs of this fatal disease.
Gender is one of the risk factors that cannot be changed when it comes to cancer. But, to lower the risk of cancer, you can eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, quit smoking, and maintain an optimum weight.
After the age of 50, an annual checkup is recommended for all women. If you experience any symptoms, early consultation can help. It is advisable to undergo important tests like pap smear for cervical cancer, ultrasonography of the breasts for breast cancer and ultrasound of lower abdomen for ovarian cancer. Taking vaccines to safeguard against cancer is also a must for every woman.
(The article is contributed by Dr Seema Sehgal, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, CK Birla Hospital, Delhi)
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