Cancer in Women

So, Women’s Wednesdays are going to focus on all things.. well, women! This includes super cool DIY projects, beauty tips, style, and, you guessed it, Women’s health! I am, by no means, a doctor, but I do have google, a brain, eyes, and I really like science and health, so I’m going to do the sleuthing for you and give you tips and tricks to keep an eye out for the health of your body.

Cancer in women, also known as gynecological cancers, are cancers that only effect women, or predominantly effect women. There are many types but some of these include: Ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, etc. So, let’s look at warning signs and symptoms, how to screen for cancers, tips on how to stay cancer free, and what to do if you think you have cancer or something else wrong. I understand this can be a sore subject for many, but let me give you a little background of myself:

When I was 19, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. For months, I had very strange symptoms and was in and out of the doctor with no answers, just more medicines and tests and blah blah blah. Well, after living through 6 months of chemotherapy, I work hard to keep up with my health, doctors visits, etc, and really try to spread the word to others about the warning signs of cancers, and how to deal with a diagnosis of cancer. If you have questions or need advice on this topic, let me know and I’ll be happy to help the best I can. So, here we go.

What happens when you have cancer?

Cancer is basically an illness where malignant cells in the body surpass the checks and balances in your body and multiply uncontrollably. This leads to serious problems and can spread systemically throughout the body, creating the different stages of cancer.

What are the warning signs?

Many cancers have little to know signs and symptoms; therefore, doctors stress checking yourself, where possible, for warning signs. Some physical warning signs for gynecological cancers can include: Pain and tenderness in the pelvis, breasts, or vaginal areas; Discharge from vaginal opening or urethra; discomfort in genitals; mass or lump in tissues of the vagina, vulva, breasts (these are the areas you may see or feel them, they can occur inside the uterus, fallopian tubes, etc, but you will most likely not see or notice them); abnormal period such as extremely heavy period, more painful than normal, or no period at all. Some other symptoms may include: Depressed mood; tiredness or malaise; weakness; fogginess of the mind; fatiguing quickly; nausea; headaches; and loss or abnormal gain in appetite.

How do you check for cancer?

The main way to check for cancer is TO GO TO THE DOCTOR! You must always keep up on check-ups and pap smears as often as your doctor recommends. You can also check your body for masses and lumps and have them checked by your doctor. You may see an abnormal lump in tissues in the breast, vagina, or vulva and need to have them looked at as soon as possible. Doctors can also do blood tests and other lab tests to check for signs of cancer.

What to expect if you are diagnosed?

If you do happen to be diagnosed with cancer, try to remain calm. It is an unfortunate thing that happens to some of us, but many cancers nowadays are very treatable! Your doctor is going to run many tests to determine the specific type of cancer you have, this will most likely include CT scans, blood tests, and a possible biopsy of the tumor or growth. After they have determined the type, they will do tests to determine which stage you are at; usually this includes a bone marrow test. These can be scary, but are not painful at all. After they have determined the stage and type, they will decide the best route and type of treatments for you. Chemotherapy is most often used and they will use a specific set of medications in varying intervals. I went to chemo every other week and received four different drugs that were one hour each. Some people, depending on the location of the cancer, will also receive radiation therapy and possible surgery. The number one thing to remember is that attitude is EVERYTHING in these situations. Keeping a positive attitude will truly help you to recover quickly and stay strong during the treatment time.

Something to think about:

What kind of hippie would I be If I didn’t think of herbal remedies? Well, this is one, but not something you should do without treatment as a “cure all.” Marijuana. Marijuana can help alleviate symptoms of treatment, and studies show it can help to fight off cancer, but it should not be used as a sole cancer treatment. I used medical cannabis during my treatment and could eat without vomiting, I could stay in a better mindset, it relieved pain, it helped me sleep, and overall I personally believe it helped to irradiate the cancer faster. I was originally supposed to go through an entire year of chemo treatment but was in remission in six months! I’m not saying I believe that cannabis did this, I have no way of knowing that, but regardless, it certainly made things easier for me. I tried to go through three rounds of chemo without medical marijuana, and I certainly will say, cannabis made the treatment and the entire experience a lot easier and helped me to stay in the fight by getting nutrients, sleep, and keeping happy. There are many ways to ingest marijuana and if there is a desire, I can post more about this subject later. If you have any questions, again, feel free to ask me over on the “contact me” section or comment on this post!

Overall, the point I’m trying to make is this:

Ladies, STAY ON TOP OF YOUR HEALTH! If something seems off, go get checked out. The faster you catch cancer, the easier it is to treat! Eat healthy foods, high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Check your body and know what to look for, and if you are diagnosed… just try your best to stay positive. Hopefully, through this post, I have maybe helped one person catch cancer early and inspired others to keep up on their health. As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns, feel free to reply or contact me! Stay healthy, stay happy!

Peace and Love,

M. Joy

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