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What is cancer? It is uncontrolled multiplication of abnormal cells.

Cancerous cells and tissues have abnormal growth rates, shapes and sizes and functioning. Cancer may progress from a localized tumor(confined to the site of origin) to direct extension(spread into nearby tissue or lymph nodes) and metastasize. This malignant growth pattern distinguishes cancerous tumors from non-cancerous tumors.

There are many types of cancerous tumors that may be found in the human body. Cancerous tumors that are found in females alone will now be emphasized.

These include:


BLADDER CANCER

What is bladder cancer? This is a malignant tumor of the bladder.


The most significant risk factor associated with bladder cancer is smoking. Exposure to chemicals called arylamines, which are used in the leather, rubber, printing and textiles industries, is another risk factor. Most bladder cancers are diagnosed after the age of 60; men are affected more than women. Symptoms include blood in the urine, difficulty urinating, excessive urination, or more rarely, painful urination. Bladder cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

 


In women, bladder cancer ranks 8th in new cancer diagnosis, with 15,000 new cases this year.
People diagnosed per year: 55,000 (accounts for 4% all newly diagnosed carcinomas)
Deaths secondary to bladder cancer per year: 11,700 (accounts for 4% of all cancer deaths)

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BREAST CANCER

What is breast cancer? It is a malignant tumor found in a breast; usually in women.

Risk factors include family history of breast cancer, prolonged menstruation, late first pregnancy (after age 30), obesity, alcohol use, and some benign tumors. Most breast cancers are adenocarcinomas. Any lump in the breast needs investigation because it may be cancerous. Treatment may begin with radical or modified mastectomy or lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or removal of the ovaries or the adrenal glands.

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OVARIAN CANCER

What is ovarian cancer? It is a malignant tumor of the ovaries


Risk factors include early age of first menstruation (before age 12), late onset of menopause (after age 52), absence of pregnancy, presence of specific genetic mutations, use of fertility drugs, and personal history of breast cancer. Symptoms such as abdominal swelling, pelvic pressure or pain, and unusual vaginal bleeding often do not appear until ovarian cancer is in the advanced stage. Surgery, sometimes followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy, is an effective treatment for most ovarian cancers.

 

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UTERINE CANCER

What is uterine cancer? It is a malignant tumor of the uterus.

Cancers affecting the lining of the uterus (endometrium) are the most common cancers of the female reproductive tract. Risk factors include absence of pregnancy, early age of menstruation (before age 12). late onset of menopause (after 52), obesity, diabetes, and estrogen replacement therapy. Additional risk factors are a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, age (over 40), and a family history of uterine cancer. Whites are more likely to develop uterine cancer than are blacks. The major symptom is vaginal bleeding or discharge. Treatment may begin with simple radical hysterectomy. Some uterine cancers are treated in part by hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.


A picture of fibroids on the uterus