Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India. One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 4 minutes and one woman dies every 13 minutes. One in 28 women is likely to develop breast cancer in a lifetime. There are many modifiable risk factors to breast cancer – maintaining a healthy weight, eating whole foods and avoiding processed and packaged food, avoiding red meat, limiting alcohol intake & avoiding smoking.Also Read - Cervical Cancer Impacts Woman’s Fertility, Warns Doctor

Dr. Mukul Roy, Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research, Mumbai talks about the top three cancers in women, symptoms, preventions. Also Read - 7 Lifestyle Habits That are Increasing Your Risk of Cervical Cancer

The early symptoms of breast cancer are – lump in the breast/armpit, any skin changes, nipple inversion, and discharge from the nipple, any change in size or shape of the breast/nipple. Also Read - Explained: What Is Cervical Cancer? Early Signs, Causes, Symptoms And Treatment, Everything You Need To Know; Watch Video

Preventions: Ladies with a family history of breast cancer need to be cautious. It is relatively easier to treat breast cancer if diagnosed at an early stage as it is often curable in the early stages. Self-examination must be done to feel the lumps or any changes in the breasts or axilla. Self-examination should be done once every month.

Cervical Cancer is the second most common cancer found in Indian women. It comprises about 22.86% of all cancer cases in Indian women. Rural women are at higher risk of cervical cancer than urban women. It is most common in sexually active women and is most commonly caused due to Human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted infection. Other causes are smoking, AIDS or HIV, poor nutrition, genital infection, multiple childbirth, weak immune systems, and multiple sexual partners.

Symptoms:

• Discharge – foul-smelling/blood-tinged, etc.
• Pain during sex.
• Abnormal vaginal bleeding/spotting during/after sex, after menopause, or between periods

Prevention:

Practicing safe sex using condoms lowers the risk of infection and thereby getting this cancer. Quit smoking to prevent cervical cancer. One should do regular PAP tests and follow up with the doctor in case of abnormal pap smears. HPV vaccines are available which can protect against cancers due to this infection. Maintaining a healthy body weight by regular exercise and eating a healthy diet with more fruits and vegetables is definitely protective.

Oral and Lip Cancer

It is one of the most common cancers affecting Indian women. It comprises about 4.3% of all cancers in Indian women. Around 80% of these cancers are caused due to use of tobacco.

Symptoms:

• Any swelling/ulcer in the oral cavity.

• White or red patches in the mouth or throat

• Bad breath and loosening of teeth

Prevention:

Proper oral hygiene is necessary to prevent oral cancer. Regular visits to the dentist and self-examination of the inside of the month once a month helps in screening any abnormality. Smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol intake must be avoided. Eating healthy nutritious food rich in plant proteins and antioxidants prevents cancer.