“With aging, the incidence of all cancers is expected to increase. For women, the most important cancers are breast, colon, endometrial, ovarian and lung cancer”.1

Women

Worldwide, what are the most common types of cancer that kill women?

According to the World Health Organization:

“Worldwide, in 2015, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill women are (in the order of frequency): breast, lung, colorectal, cervical and stomach cancers”.2

Top Three

Worldwide, what are the top three cancers in women?

In Worldwide Cancer Data: Global Cancer Statistics for the Most Common Cancers – Global Cancer Incidence In Women according to the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRFI) “in 2018, the latest year available”:

“The top three – breast, colorectal and lung cancers – contributed 43.9% of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer)”.3

Breast Cancer

Worldwide, how common is breast cancer in women?

In women, according to the WCRFI:

“Breast cancer was the most common cancer in women worldwide, contributing 25.4% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018”.4

Cervical Cancer

Worldwide, how common is cervical cancer?

In Cervical Cancer the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health note:

“Cervical cancer is a cancer that develops in a woman’s cervix. It is the second most common cancer experienced by women worldwide”.5

Aging

Is there an association between aging and cancer?

In Maintaining Health and Preventing Disease After the Menopause: Preventing Cancer Post Menopause the International Menopause Society elaborate on:

“With aging, the incidence of all cancers is expected to increase. For women, the most important cancers are breast, colon, endometrial, ovarian and lung cancer. Also, in the developing world cervical cancer is a major cause of death in women. Possible prevention of these cancers by lifestyle changes and appropriate screening gains more importance after menopause”.6

Risk

How may women choose to reduce their risk of cancer?

In World Menopause Day: World Menopause Day 2013 the IMS elaborate on:

“After the menopause there is an increased risk of cancer and therefore being proactive in managing a healthy lifestyle will significantly reduce this risk. Preventative strategies, such as decreasing smoking and alcohol consumption, losing weight, eating a healthy diet and undertaking physical activity, and implementation of screening could help to significantly decrease the incidence and mortality from cancer”.7

Prevention Plan

What is a cancer prevention plan for women?

In Get Checked – Women: A Cancer Prevention Plan for Women the Cancer Council Australia elaborate on:

“Finding cancer early improves your chances of successful treatment and long-term survival.

Look for:

  • Lumps, sores or ulcers that don’t heal
  • Unusual changes in your breasts – lumps, thickening, unusual discharge, nipples that suddenly turn inwards, changes in shape, colour or unusual pain
  • Coughs that don’t go away, show blood, or a hoarseness that persists
  • Weight loss that can’t be explained
  • Any loss of blood, even a few spots between periods or after they stop (menopause)
  • Moles that have changed shape, size or colour, or an inflamed skin sore that hasn’t healed
  • Blood in a bowel motion
  • Persistent changes in toilet habits
  • Persistent abdominal pain or bloating.

Symptoms often relate to more common, less serious health problems. However, if you notice any unusual changes, or symptoms persist, visit your doctor”.8

Health Care Provider

What if I would like to lower my risk of cancer?

If you would like to lower your risk of cancer, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The (United States) National Cancer Institute note:

“Avoiding cancer risk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking and exercising may also help prevent some cancers. Talk to your doctor or other health care professional about how you might lower your risk of cancer”.9

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Sources

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Sources

  1. Maintaining Health and Preventing Disease After the Menopause: Preventing Cancer Post Menopause. 2014:3 International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2014/booklets/ims_wmd_booklet_2014_english.pdf Accessed: 11 August 2020
  2. 10 Facts About Cancer – Fact 4: Top 5 Types of Cancer Killing Women. Updated February 2017. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/cancer/en/ Accessed: 11 August 2020
  3. Worldwide Cancer Data: Global Cancer Statistics for the Most Common Cancers – Global Cancer Incidence In Women. World Cancer Research Fund International https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data Accessed: 11 August 2020
  4. Worldwide Cancer Data: Global Cancer Statistics for the Most Common Cancers – Global Cancer Incidence In Women. World Cancer Research Fund International https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancer-trends/worldwide-cancer-data Accessed: 11 August 2020
  5. Cervical Cancer. Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 23 January 2018. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/cervical-cancer Accessed: 11 August 2020
  6. Maintaining Health and Preventing Disease After the Menopause: Preventing Cancer Post Menopause. 2014:3 International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/downloads/world_menopause_day_2014/booklets/ims_wmd_booklet_2014_english.pdf Accessed: 11 August 2020
  7. World Menopause Day: World Menopause Day 2013. October 2013. International Menopause Society https://www.imsociety.org/world_menopause_day.php?year=2013 Accessed: 11 August 2020
  8. Get Checked – Women: A Cancer Prevention Plan for Women. Cancer Council Australia https://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/reduce-your-risk/get-checked-women.html Accessed: 11 August 2020
  9. Skin Cancer Prevention–Patient Version (PDQ): Skin Cancer Prevention – Avoiding Risk Factors and Increasing Protective Factors May Help Prevent Cancer. Updated: 10 April 2019. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/types/skin/patient/skin-prevention-pdq#section/_16 Accessed: 11 August 2020

Topic Last Updated: 14 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 11 August 2020
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