Cancers Affecting Women

Cancer affecting women

Type of CancerRisk FactorsSigns and Symptoms
Thyroid cancer• Age • Family history • Exposure to radiation or x-rays, especially at young ages • Diet lacking iodine • Workplace exposure to certain substances.• Lump at the front of the neck • Swollen lymph nodes • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing • Throat or neck pain.
Brain tumors• Age • Family history.• Severe headaches • Nausea • Problems with speech, vision, or hearing • Loss of balance • Changes in mood or personality • Memory loss • Seizures • Numbness in extremities.
Breast cancer• Age • Family history • High breast tissue density • Hyperplasia (an increase in number of cells in the breast; detected by a biopsy) • X-ray exposure, particularly at young ages or high doses • Early onset of menstruation and/or late menopause • Never having children • Having first child after age 30 • Use of birth control pills (within 10 years of stopping use, risk returns to normal) • Overweight or obesity after menopause • Use of menopausal hormone therapy containing both estrogen and progestin • Excessive alcohol consumption • Inherited mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.• Abnormalities (may be detected by a mammogram) • A lump in the breast (may be detected by a mammogram) • Changes in the breast (See page 160 of the Reproductive Health chapter for more information.)
Cervical cancer• Human papillomavirus (HPV); a vaccine can now prevent infection with strains of the virus responsible for most cervical cancers; condoms also offer partial protection.• Abnormal cells (can be detected by Pap test) • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Colon and rectal cancers• Age • Family history • History of inflammatory bowel disease • Obesity • Smoking • Excessive alcohol consumption • Inherited genetic mutations.• Polyps or tumors (can be detected by screening tests) • Blood in stool (may be detected by screening tests) • Changes in bowel habits • Pain or cramping.
Skin cancer (melanoma, basal cell, and squamous cell cancers)• Personal or family history of skin cancer • Many moles or large moles • Sun-burning easily • Natural blonde or red hair • Personal history of major sunburns and use of tanning booths • Workplace exposure to certain substances.• Changes in the skin, such as a new growth, change in an existing growth, or sores that do not heal.
Pancreatic cancer• Smoking • Chronic pancreatitis (PAN-kree-uh-TYT-uhss) • Diabetes • Cirrhosis • Obesity.• Weight loss • Abdominal discomfort • Jaundice.
Ovarian cancer• Age • Use of estrogen-only menopausal hormone therapy • Overweight and obesity • Personal or family history of breast cancer • Mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes • Personal or family history of hereditary nonpolypsis colon cancer (HNPCC).• Bloating • Pelvic or abdominal pain • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly • Digestive problems • Urinary problems (urgency or frequency) • Fatigue • Back pain • Abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers• Tobacco use (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and smokeless tobacco products) • Excessive alcohol consumption.• Sores that bleed and/or do not heal • Lumps or thickening • Ear pain • A mass on the neck • Cough that produces blood • Red or white patch that does not go away • Difficulties chewing or swallowing.
Myeloma (cancer of plasma cells in blood)• Age • History of a condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).• Pain in or broken bones of the back and spine • Fatigue • Thirst • Repeated infections or fevers.
Lymphoma (Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas) • Reduced immune function due to autoimmune (aw-toh-ih-MYOON) disorders • Infection with HIV, retrovirus human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus-1 (HTLV-1), or hepatitis C • Family history • Workplace exposures to herbicides and other chemicals • Medications that reduce immune function for organ transplant.• Swollen lymph nodes • Night sweats • Fatigue • Weight loss • Fever.
Lung cancer• Smoking • Exposure to airborne carcinogens such as asbestos, radon, secondhand smoke, some chemicals and metals, and air pollution.• Cough that does not go away • Cough that produces blood • Chest pain • Repeated pneumonia (noo-MOH-nyuh) or bronchitis.
Liver cancer• Age • Family history
• Hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection • Cirrhosis (sur-ROH-suhss) • Exposure to atoxic substance, aflatoxin, in mold that grows in nuts, seeds, and legumes.• Abdominal pain on the right side • Abdominal swelling • Weight loss • Loss of appetite • Fatigue • Nausea • Jaundice • Fever.
Leukemia• Exposure to benzene or ionizing radiation • Cancer radiation treatment • Down syndrome and some other genetic abnormalities • Retrovirus human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus-1 (HTLV-1).• Fatigue • Paleness • Weight loss • Repeated infections • Fever • Easy bruising • Nosebleeds
Endometrial cancer• Use of estrogen-only menopausal therapy (in women with an intact uterus) • Early onset of menstruation and/or late menopause • Never having children • Obesity.• Abnormal uterine bleeding, especially after menopause.
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