INDIA: With an increase in the cases of cancer in the past few decades across the globe, precautions and care have been a necessity. Multiple factors are responsible for the growth of cancerous cells like genetics, age, and environment. Early detection is however one of the best weapons against the disease.
According to a study, when compared to men, women are more likely to get cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, followed by cervical and ovarian cancer. Dr. Geeth Monnappa, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Bengaluru suggests ways to prevent cancer in women. Here are some common symptoms of cancer suggested by her that every woman must look out for.
- It is normal for women to experience occasional irregular periods or cramps, but if persistent pain or changes in your cycle are observed then it could be a matter of concern.
- However, Dr. Monnappa said that large chunks of blood clots or a period lasting for more than 7 days are not normal. She also added that these might look like a simple issue, but can be a sign of cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer. In such cases, a doctor needs to be consulted.
- Owing to several reasons, spotting or bleeding after sexual intercourse is often observed. This can be a sign of infection, vaginal dryness, and in the worst-case cervical cancer. In fact, about 11 percent of cases of bleeding after intercourse is due to cancer.
- Dr. Monnappa said that if a woman witnesses spotting after hitting menopause then it can be due to uterine or cervical cancer.
- Periods often come with pain and cramps, which is quite normal before and during the menstrual cycle, except the one that emerges after the age of 40. Dr. Monnappa said that severe period pain after the age of 40 can be a warning sign. The foul-smelling vaginal discharges should be evaluated on time to cut down on any risk of infection.
- The symptoms of ovarian cancer are tough to diagnose as they do not show any specific signs. Any kind of abdominal distention or swelling, indigestion, change of bowel habit, loss of weight, and loss of appetite can be a sign of ovarian cancer. In case of these signs, it is better to consult a gynecologist.
- Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. But most women know their breasts well, so it is easy to detect any kind of changes in them. Any lump, bleeding from the nipples, or change in the skin of the nipples should be taken to the notice of a doctor.
For early detection and prevention, Dr. Monnappa suggests that every woman after the age of 21 or at least 25 needs to get regular cervical cancer screening. This includes a pap smear test once in 3 years, with or without HPV DNA testing. “This needs to continue up to the age of 65 years,” she added.