There are many different types of cancer with many possible causes and symptoms; it’s not generally easy to guard against, but it’s not impossible to do so. With cancer taking the lives of over a quarter million women in America each year, it’s important to know what steps you can take to stay cancer free. Here are some tips to help avoid a few types of cancer affecting women.
Cervical Cancer: This type of cancer is caused primarily by STDs such as HPV and gonorrhea. As such, sexually active women are more prone to cervical cancer. Smoking has also been linked to the disease. Possible symptoms include vaginal bleeding and vaginal discharge.
Preventative measures include:
– Safe sex practices (use of condoms, HPV vaccinations, etc)
– Annual pap smear exams
– Not smoking
Breast Cancer: There are many potential risk factors for breast cancer, some of which can’t be avoided (age, genetics, family history, etc). However, there are at least three factors you have more direct control over:
– Alcohol: Women who have one alcoholic drink a day have a slight increase of risk for breast cancer; those who have two to five a day have 1.5 times the risk of non-drinkers.
– Obesity: Becoming overweight after menopause also increases risk for breast cancer.
– Physical activity: Growing evidence suggests that a moderate amount of exercise (a few hours of walking per week) reduces risk for breast cancer.
NHL and Fibroids: NHL (Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma) is a type of cancer that has been shown by some studies to correlate with the use of hair dye. Fibroids are cancerous growths that have been linked to the use of hair relaxers and other hair products, especially those targeted to Black women. These and other types of cancer are brought on by external, man-made substances, so it’s important to pay close attention to what we take into (or apply onto) our bodies; a watchful eye and awareness of harmful substances can save your life.