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We live in an age where every single individual, more or less, is exposed to the risk of cancer. It is probably an unfavorable lifestyle we lead that deprives us of good health. This might alarm many but considerable changes in lifestyle can help you realize cancer as a preventable disease. Cancer does not only make you undergo severe suffering but it also affects your friends and family. The pallor of misery spreads wider than you think.
- Abstain from tobacco: Consuming raw tobacco or smoking tobacco can be equally detrimental to your health. Tobacco increases your chances of contracting the disease. As is known, passive smoking can also affect your health adversely. Tobacco can be the potential cause behind cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, lungs, oral cavity and even the pancreas. It might harm your kidneys and cervix. It is upon you to quit tobacco at the earliest possible. One should also try and persuade friends and relatives to give up smoking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation: Complete abstinence from alcohol might not be possible if you have already been ushered into your work- life. The society might require you to be an occasional drinker. It is important to drink in moderation. Crossing the limit can propel consequences as serious as cancer of the stomach, pancreas, liver and the heart.
- A balanced and nutritious diet: Deciding on a plant- based diet or a Mediterranean diet can aid your fight against the risk of cancer. A Mediterranean diet will involve green leafy vegetables, lots of fresh fruits, whole grains, mixed nuts, legumes and also the use of extra- virgin olive oil. Fish can be a safe bet but red meat should be avoided. One must also try to avoid processed meat as they tend to make you prone to the risk of cancer.
- Immunization: Hepatitis B and HPV or Human papilloma virus vaccines are extremely necessary to protect you against the sexually transmitted types of cancer.
- Sun protection: Caring for your skin doesn't arise from vanity. Skin cancer is one of the most prevalent kinds of cancer; the chances of this disease can be restricted by remaining in shade especially during midday, by wearing covered clothes and by using a good sunscreen lotion repeatedly while outside.
- Exercise diligently: Did you think it was okay to have weaker muscles and bulging layers of fat? If yes, you probably have grown numb to the inadequacies you face in result. Unchecked fat can lead to obesity which further complicates health conditions. Metabolic activity differs from person to person. Regular exercising can help regulate metabolism according to the needs of your body. Physical exercise protects you against the risk of breast and colon cancer. Moderate or vigorous physical activity for 150 to 75 minutes a week respectively can reduce the risk of cancer. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Cancer or the big ‘C’ can affect any part of the body including the female reproductive system. These types of cancer are known as gynaecological cancers. Gynaecological cancers occur when normal cells start growing in an uncontrolled manner. There are many different types of gynaecological cancers which are named as per the organs in which they first develop. These include:
- Ovarian cancer: Cancer that affects the ovaries and ova
- Uterine cancer: Cancer that begins inside the uterus
- Cervical cancer: Cancer that begins in the cervix or the section of the reproductive tract between the uterus and vagina
- Vaginal cancer: Cancer that begins in the vagina
- Vulval cancer: Cancer that originates in the opening of the vagina, labia minora or labia majora, clitoris or mons pubis
- Fallopian tube cancer: Cancer that affects the fallopian tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus
- Placenta cancer: Pregnancy related cancer
Gynaecological cancers are more commonly diagnosed in cases where the woman has a family history of cancer or has mutated genes. Advancing in age, exposure to hormones, and diethylstilbestrol can also increase the risk of suffering from such cancers. Additionally, viral infections such as human papilloma virus, obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking have also been identified as risk factors for cancer.
However, a woman may suffer from these types of cancer even if she does not fall into any of the above risk factor categories. Hence, it becomes important to focus on the symptoms. The symptoms of gynaecological cancers depend on the organ from where the tumour originated, the size of the tumour and it’s rate of growth.
Some of the symptoms which may be noticed are:
- Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Unusual discharge from the vagina
- Pain or discomfort in the abdominal area
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Painful intercourse
- Itching or burning sensations in the genital area
- Lumps, warts or sores in the genital area
- Unusual bladder and bowel habits
Gynaecological cancers can be treated by using chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal therapies or surgery depending on the stage of the cancer and the type of cancer. Hence, the earlier it is diagnosed, the better it is. Keeping the risk factors in mind, if the above symptoms are noticed, the doctor may ask for a number of tests to diagnose gynaecological cancers.
These tests include:
- A pap smear
- Pelvic examination
- Blood tests
- CT scan, ultrasound, MRI or any other form of imaging tests
- Biopsy scan
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist and ask a free question.