Woman and Cancer

Now a days cancer has become very common disease, and that too among women, since it is necessary for every woman to know about cancers she is prone to- how to prevent them, how to detect them, if detected how she can save herself.

Cancer is a term used by both laymen and medical persons to refer to a disease manifested by malignant new growth. It is one of the most dreaded diseases of the modern times as well as olden times.

Although cancer does not discriminate between the male and female, their different sex, and the secondary sex structures makes women more prevalent to certain type of cancers.The most common among them are the breast and cervical cancer than in other organ cancers. Of these,cancer of the cervix is the most common one. Even-though the probable factors responsible for the above cancer is many the actual cause of cervical cancer is still not established, the causative factors can be discussed. That the disease is more closely linked to sexual activity was established by researchers. Other causes are the beginning of sexual intercourse at a young age and multiple sexual partners. A big help in lessening risks of this cancer is keeping clean of the private parts and not involving in the above said factors, and this applies to both the male and female.

In men, a whitish secretion, is produced at the groove of glans penis called smegma, and this smegma is reported to be cancer producing substance.(CPS) During intercourse, the female private parts are massaged by this CPS, and in the long run the female partner may develop cancerous changes in the cells of the cervix.

Further women suffering from chronic cervical discharges are also prone to develop this disease, it is no out of place to mention that it should be the duty of every father to advise his son, and every mother to advise her daughter on how to clean the private parts. The risk of cervical cancer is seen to be more in the wives of men who have previously been married to women who developed cervical cancer, although the obvious cause for this has not been identified.

Cervical Cancer

Although associated with sexual activity, cervical cancer is not a sexually transmitted disease like syphilis or gonorrhoea, or AIDS. Chemical irritants and oral contraceptive pills have not been linked with the increased incidence of cancer of cervix. But smoking by women has been strongly associated with this kind of cancer, although again the mechanism is not known and not clearly defined.

As far as the causative agents like bacteria and viruses are concerned, the Human Papilloma Virus(HPV) is intimately related to the occurrence of cervical cancer, this virus (HPV) causes simple skin warts in various parts of the body. Warts around the private parts of the female should be taken seriously. If she has an active sexual life, going for a simple and inexpensive Pap Smear screening test once a year is very much advisable. This can detect precancerous conditions. Anything after such detection effective treatment can stop the subsequent development of cancer.

Early symptoms consist of vaginal discharge or bleeding(Post coital spotting). Pain is a late symptom and is usually a dull aching pain in the lower abdomen.

As for as treatment is concerned, surgery and radio therapy alone or in combination is the prime method of treatment. Chemotherapy (drug therapy) has not been sen to be effective till now. Early diagnosis is most important because when caught early, survival rates go up to 82 percent following treatment.

Breast Cancer

The cause of breast cancer is not known but study of the occurrence and distribBreast cancer is the second most common tumour among women.The study of the occurance of distribution of the disease suggest 3 factors: hormones, diet, and heredity.

Hormonal:

Early age of menarche(Occurrence of first menstruation) late onset of menopause (Stoppage of menstruation) woman who have not given birth to a child, and a late pregnancy, appear to be independently associated with an increased incidence of breast cancer. Earlier, the use of oral contraceptive pills was thought to be responsible for breast cancer, but the recent studies and researches however, have failed to establish any firm association with the incidence of breast cancer and the use of oral contraceptive pills.

Diet:

High dietary fat or cholesterol is a risk factor for breast cancer. The correlation (fat intake and obesity) is stronger in postmenopausal woman than in a premenopausal one. Although the high incidence of breast cancer has been linked to moderate alcohol intake and hair dye application, no firm conclusion can still be drawn.

Heredity:

Although the mechanism of inheritance is not clear, it was observed that the first or the second degree relatives of breast cancer woman are at increased risk for developing the disease. When the disease has affected both the breasts before menopause, the risk is highest.nipple can be highly suspicious. In such cases one should go for a biopsy and mammography, it is the most treatable of all female cancers. Nearly 80 percent of breast cancers are presented as a suspicious mass usually found by the patient herself. Normally nipple discharge is not taken into account as a symptom, retraction of the All the modalities of treatment in combination (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy) are quite effective. Specially chemotherapy which is not so effective in cervical cancer, is very effective in breast cancer as an auxiliary to either surgery or radio therapy.

Even in this case also the outcome of the treatment depends upon how early the diagnosis has been made. It is important that physical examination of the breast by skilled health professionals and mammography have their own scientific importance, and a must to detection of breast cancer, the very simple method of Breast Self Examination (BSE) cannot be ignored.

Every woman above 30 should practise BSE regularly.

I am planning to do it as a four part series, since please keep watch for the second part. And please don't forget to offer your comments.

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