What are the most prevalent cancer risks for women?

Cancer can affect anyone, but cancer does not affect everyone in the same way. Women have a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer than men, and knowing their risks can help them make smart decisions about lifestyle choices and screenings. Early diagnosis is critical for the best possible cancer care outcomes, so women should consider talking to their providers about the cancer tests that are right for them. Let’s take a closer look at the types of cancer that are most prevalent amongst women.

Breast cancer
Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It can happen at any age, but the risk increases with age. Having a family history of the disease is another significant risk factor.

Mammograms are screening tests that are performed to diagnose breast cancer, and they can be life saving because they allow for early detection of the disease. Your provider can tell you when you should start having mammograms and how often you should have them, based on your personal health history.

Colon cancer
Colon cancer is most common in women over the age of 50. Fortunately, it is usually slow moving and can be cured when caught in its earliest stages. Screening tests let physicians find polyps in the colon before they become malignant, which will prevent cancer from developing.

Most women should start colon cancer screenings at age 50 and repeat every five to 10 years, but women with increased risks, such as a personal or family history of colon cancer, should be screened more often.

Endometrial cancer
Endometrial cancer is cancer that grows in the lining of the uterus. It occurs most often in women over the age of 55, though any woman can get it. Women who have taken estrogen, got their first period at an early age, or had menopause later in life are especially at risk.

Screening for endometrial cancer is usually done by biopsy. Your physician can tell you if you need a screening biopsy.

The women’s services and cancer care teams at Good Samaritan Hospital are committed to helping women get the diagnoses and treatments they need when cancer occurs. Contact our hospital in San Jose for a referral by calling (888) 724-2362.

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