Cancer is the second leading cause of death for American women, behind heart disease. Reproductive cancers are cancers that start in the organs related to reproduction. Breast cancer is the most common reproductive cancer, which results in 39,620 deaths each year. Understanding your risk for reproductive cancers, the causes of cancer, and the potential means of prevention is one of the most important steps women can take today.
In addition to breast cancer, other reproductive cancers include:
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
One of the most important steps for avoiding or surviving cancer is to get in front of it. Frequent gynecological checkups are critical for catching cancer in its early stages and defeating it, or for flagging warning signs and taking appropriate steps. It’s also important to do frequent checks for symptoms, which differ by disease. Being aware of your body is the best protection you have as a woman. Conversely, the following risks increase the likelihood of developing cancer:
- Smoking and other tobacco use
- Poor nutrition
- Heavy alcohol use
- Low activity levels
- Exposure to pollutants
Since many of the forms of reproductive cancer are linked with breast cancer – and many women end up diagnosed with more than one – tracking reproductive cancers is a good way to stave off breast cancer as well.
Each type of female reproductive cancer has different symptoms, so it is important to see a healthcare provider if you have concerns. Remember, that it’s never too early to protect yourself! To speak with a healthcare expert on means of prevention and understanding your risk for reproductive cancers, schedule an appointment at Avant Gynecology.