The most common types of cancer in women aren’t the same as the most common types of cancer in men. So, girls, let’s arm ourselves with some knowledge about what they are and how to avoid them, asap!
1. Breast cancer
Breast cancer affected 26% of all cancer patients in recent years. 15% of all of the people who died of cancer, died of breast cancer. So since it affects 1 in 8 of us, let’s look a little more deeply at what it is and how it can be prevented.
Studies show that age plays an important role when it comes to who is affected by breast cancer. Two out of three women who get invasive breast cancer are 55 or older.
You are twice as likely to get breast cancer if your mum, sister or daughter has had it.
White women are more susceptible to getting breast cancer than black women. However, if black women do get it, they are more likely to have fast-growing tumours.
Women who start menstruating early and reach the menopause later are thought to be at a greater risk of getting breast cancer.
Women who don’t breastfeed are more likely to get breast cancer.
Women who drink between one and three alcoholic beverages are at higher risk of getting breast cancer, according to a study performed at Oxford University on 1.3 million women over seven years.
2. Colon cancer
Colon and rectal cancers account for around 10% of all cancer cases and 9% of all deaths. Women have a 1 in 19 chance of getting these cancers.
If you are over 50, you’re at the age when 90% of all people get colon cancers.
If someone in your family has had colorectal cancer, polyps or inflammatory bowel disease, you’re more likely to get it.
People who don’t exercise regularly and those that spend a lot of time without moving around are more likely to get colorectal cancers.
If you’re a smoker, it might be worth giving up, as smokers are much more likely to get cancer. Colorectal cancers included.
Eating a diet that is low in fibre, high in fat and doesn’t include a lot of fruit and vegetables makes you more likely to suffer from colorectal cancers. Now where did that apple go….
Luckily, it takes around 10 to 15 years for abnormal cells to grow in the colon, which means that getting regular screenings can really help you prevent colorectal cancers. Ask for one if you think you could be high risk.
3. Lung cancer
Lung cancers account for 26% of all deaths from cancer and represent 14% of female cancer cases. Your chance of getting it is 1 in 16.
If people didn’t smoke, 80% of all lung cancer cases in women could be prevented. Smokers are between 10 and 20 times more likely to get lung cancer, though family history also plays a part. Breathing in second-hand smoke also raises the likelihood of you getting it.
Radon gas and arsenic
Ever heard of non-smoking builders or other tradespeople getting lung cancer through exposure to radon and arsenic?
Radon can be found in almost all air, but it can enter into homes through cracks in floors, walls or foundations and collect inside our homes. It doesn’t smell, so we might not realise we are being exposed to it. Get your house checked if you feel you might be at risk.
Arsenic can be found in building products, like “pressure-treated” woods, and in water sources that have been contaminated. It can also be found in some foods, like fish and shellfish, and pesticides. Being exposed raises the liklihood of you getting lung cancer and other cancers considerably.
Prevent lung cancer by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and limiting your alcohol intake. Avoid being exposed to smoke, and stop smoking if you’re a smoker!
4. Skin cancer
Anyone who spends time in the sun can get skin cancer. The key is to limit the amount of time you spend under the sun’s powerful rays.
People who have family members with melanoma and people who got burnt badly before they reached 18 are more likely to get skin cancer.
Expose yourself to 15 minutes of sun every day. The rest of the time, cover up!