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The types of cancer you should know about

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Cancer is a puzzling moment in life. It is the beginning of an endless journey that will see one fall too many times but celebrate the tiniest victories. For most of us, the stumbling happens because either we aren’t informed enough or the information arrives too late. Fortunately, there is a plethora of articles, research papers, and other documents on the internet that can help us read up on cancer. 

On this World Cancer Day, we want to commit to providing authentic information and raise awareness among all women about cancer.

To ensure that we are contributing to this progress of creating awareness, we thought of looking deeper into the subject.

Breast cancer is largely spoken about today and through more research, women are gaining knowledge about it. There are also gynecologic cancers – the type of cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs – and it is necessary that every woman has some awareness about it.  

Here are the different types of gynecologic cancer:

Cervical cancer

Developing in the cervix, this type of cancer can grow in the uterus or the womb, specifically in the portion of the uterus through where the baby makes its way into the birth canal. The chances of developing cancerous cells can be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) – an infection that can be passed through intimate skin-to-skin contact. Other factors can include smoking or being exposed to hormone treatments. 

Ovarian cancer

The malignant cancer cells form in the lining or covering of the ovary, the fallopian tube or the peritoneum. Women with a family history of ovarian cancer might have increased chances of developing the malignant cells. Symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, frequent urinary urges are persistent. Ovarian cancer can be of three types: 

  • Epithelial, forming on the surface of the ovary.
  • Germ cell, starting in cells that produce eggs in the ovary.
  • Stromal, developing in cells that create female hormones.
Primary peritoneal cancer

One of the rare kinds of cancer, it starts in the thin tissue lining (called peritoneum) of the inner sides of the abdomen. It happens when certain cells in the peritoneum transform into cancerous cells and can occur in the abdominal cavity. 

Vaginal cancer

Beginning in the lining of the vagina, it develops in the birth canal. It may result in vaginal bleeding and discharge, and painful intercourse. Like cervical cancer, it can be caused by HPV and develop lump or mass inside the vagina. In the early stages, however, one might not notice any of these symptoms. Vaginal cancer be of four types:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma, developing in the flat cells that line the surface of the vagina.
  • Adenocarcinoma, beginning in the glandular cell on the surface of the vagina.
  • Melanoma, developing on the cells that produce pigments in the vagina.
  • Sarcoma, growing in the connective tissue cell in the vagina wall.
Endometrial cancer

Occurring on the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, it can change the hormonal balance in a woman’s body. Getting periods at a very early stage – before the estimated age of 12 – or a very late menopause can be a driving factor in endometrial cancer. It can be caused by an inherent colon cancer syndrome, like Lynch Syndrome, which happens by genetic mutation from parents to children.

Breast cancer

Developing in breast cells, it forms in either the ducts or the lobules of the breast. The cancer cells invade the fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue inside the breast. The cancer cells move into other parts of the body through lymph nodes and can result in lumps on the breast, pain, reddish skin, bloody nipple discharge, and a sudden change in the size or shape of the breast. 

We are learning about cancer every day. Due to the progress in science and technology today, an early detection of cancer might help in seeking a proper cure. We recommend that all women practice a habit of routine check ups and self-examinations at home to stay up-to-date about their health. This will not only prevent the “endless journey” but also ensure a more stable life for them and everyone who loves them. 

Our experts are constantly researching and writing about better lifestyle habits that can potentially develop a healthy body, and thus prevent the chances of cancer. Read more about them right here.

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Barnana is a writer at Nua. She likes to time herself while reading and spends most of her evenings walking around the city, clicking pictures. She loves to watch old movies and has a habit of cutting out newspaper articles "just for decoration".
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