Cancer in Women

Cancer in Women

Woman's Health Malpractice PhiladelphiaBreast Cancer

Among the cancers in women, breast cancer is one of the most well-known. A Woman’s risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 8. Early detection of breast cancer is the key to cure and long-term survival of this disease. The goal of screening exams for early breast cancer detection is to find cancers before they start to cause symptoms. Breast cancers that are found because they are causing symptoms tend to be larger and are more likely to have already spread (metastasized) beyond the breast. While genetics plays a strong role, with family history featuring prominently in a woman’s individual risk for breast cancer, even small changes in healthy habits which include screening mammography could reduce the risk.

The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump (mass). A mass that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges is more likely to be cancerous, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded or painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new mass, lump, or breast change checked by your doctor and possibly by a breast surgeon. Other signs are: Swelling of the breast; Skin irritation or dimpling of the breast; Nipple pain or retraction (turning inward); Redness or scaliness of the breast; and, discharge. The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older should have a mammogram every year.

Women aged between 50 and 69 have seen the biggest rise in breast cancer rates of 6%.  Almost half of breast cancer cases in 2008 (48%) were in women aged between 50 and 69.  The rate of breast cancer incidence has gone up fastest in younger women — ages 25 to 34; and the most recent national 5-year survival for metastatic (spread) disease for 25- to 39-year-old women is only 31%, compared with a 5-year survival rate of 87% for women with locoregional (non-metastatic) breast cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and the second most diagnosed cancer in women in the United States. In 2008, 14% of all cancer diagnoses and 28% of all cancer deaths were due to lung cancer. Lung cancer begins in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body, such as the brain. Lung cancers usually are grouped into two main types called small cell and non-small cell. These types of lung cancer grow differently and are treated differently. Non-small cell lung cancer is more common than small cell lung cancer.

Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer. Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized) have symptoms specific to that part of the body. Some people just have general symptoms of not feeling well. Most people with lung cancer don’t have symptoms until the cancer is advanced. Lung cancer symptoms may include: Coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away; chest pain; shortness of breath; wheezing; coughing up blood; feeling very tired all the time (fatigue); and weight loss with no known cause. Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) inside the chest in the area between the lungs.

Colon Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in women. It is a cancer that occurs in the colon or rectum. The colon is the large intestine or large bowel. The rectum is the passageway that connects the colon to the anus. Colon cancer affects of all racial and ethnic groups, and is most often found in people aged 50 years or older. Colon cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the United States. It is felt that screening for colon cancer may prevent as many as 60% of deaths from colon cancer. Screening can find precancerous polyps—abnormal growths in the colon or rectum—so that they can be removed before turning into cancer. Screening also helps find colorectal cancer at an early stage, when treatment often leads to a cure.

About 9 out of every 10 people whose colon cancer is found early and treated are still alive five years later. Colorectal polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. Someone could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. If there are symptoms, they may include: Blood in or on your stool (bowel movement; stomach pain, aches, or cramps that don’t stop; and, unexplained weight loss.

Gynecologic Cancers

Cevical Cancer

Another cancer in women is cervical cancer. The test for cervical cancer is The Papanicolaou (Pap smear) test, a minimally invasive screening test routinely performed during annual gynecologic visits.  Cells collected from the cervix are examined for microscopic signs of cancer.  It has been credited with saving the lives of many women. When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. The cervix connects the vagina (birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus. The uterus (or womb) is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant.

Cervical cancer is highly preventable in most Western countries because screening tests (Pap smears) and a vaccine to prevent HPV infections are available. When cervical cancer is found early, it is highly treatable and associated with long survival and good quality of life. Early on, cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms. Advanced cervical cancer may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex. If you have any of these signs, see your doctor.

Ovarian, Endometrial and Uterine Cancers

Ovarian and endometrial cancers are newly diagnosed in nearly 70,000 women in the United States each year, and 1/3 of them will die from it. There is currently no routine screening test for ovarian or endometrial cancer in women.

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer  in women of the female reproductive system. Ovarian cancer may cause one or more of these signs and symptoms: Vaginal bleeding or discharge that is not normal for you; pain in the pelvic or abdominal area; back pain; bloating; feeling full quickly while eating; or a change in your bathroom habits, such as having to pass urine very badly or very often, constipation, or diarrhea.  All women are at risk for ovarian cancer, but older women are more likely to get the disease than younger women. About 90% of women who get ovarian cancer are older than 40 years of age, with the greatest number of cases occurring in women aged 60 years or older.

Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) in particular is highly curable if found early and much more problematic if permitted to spread to the uterus and through a woman’s body.

The Lewis Law Firm has a history of representing women who are diagnosed late with cancer.  If you are in Philadelphia or New Jersey and you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer contact the Lewis Law firm today for a FREE consultation. For more information on Women’s Health Issues read the Lewis Law Firm blog.

For More Cancer Information and Resources Look Here:

Ovarian Cancer

Endometrial Cancer

Uterine Cancer

American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

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