They’re stealthy, sneaky and often take us by surprise. Experts at biological warfare and genetic manipulation, they invade and infiltrate, weakening us from within, sapping strength and seizing control of our lives. Worst of all, they only target women.
We’re talking about cancers—specifically those that afflict women alone. While we who possess the XX chromosomes have exclusive advantages—pregnancy, princess treatment and the perks we get with our feminine charms—we also have exclusive afflictions. Cancer is one aspect that highlights this somber truth.
It all begins with the unmistakable anatomy of women. Call it the curse of curves—both bosom and hips house the organs that are most affected when it comes to cancer in women. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in females, breast and cervical cancer are among the leading causes of cancer deaths. Translating that into numbers, the latest Globocan statistics reveal that breast cancer is the top female cancer in the Philippines, affecting over 11,500 new patients per 100,000 women, and killing about a third of them. Cervical cancer ranks second, with over 4,500 victims per 100,000 women, claiming the lives of 40 percent of them. Ovarian cancer is also in the top five.
More than mere anatomy, however, is the hormone factor. Many breast cancers are estrogen-sensitive, while some studies have implicated long-term hormonal therapy with estrogen in the development of ovarian cancer. Moreover, risk factors for these malignancies include circumstances surrounding the reproductive system of women.
Profile of a ladykiller
Just like every woman has a distinct personality, so do female cancers. They say you should know thy enemy, so here’s a look at the nuances of these ladykillers.