5 Lesser Known Facts About Reproductive Cancers

February 4, 2016 WCD Website FB Pic

1. Reproductive Cancers Are The Most Common Cancers Among Women In Many Regions

Reproductive cancers are the one of the most common cancers among women. In Asia-Pacific, reproductive cancers are the most common cancer types prevalent among female population, accounting for 18% of all cancers. According to a 2012 study, close to a quarter (24%) of all breast cancers globally were diagnosed within the Asia-Pacific region (corresponding to a rate of 30 cases per 100,000) with the greatest number of those occurring in China (46%), Japan (14%), and Indonesia (12%).[1] In U.S., breast cancer, besides skin cancer, is the most common cancer found in women[2]. Breast cancer has become the most common cancers among women in Sub-Saharan Africa. [3]

2. Reproductive Cancers Are The Most Common Cause Of Cancer-related Deaths Among Women

Reproductive cancers are the 4th most common cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Asia-Pacific and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in countries including Fiji, the Solomon Islands (both 27% of all cancer-related deaths), Malaysia (25%), the Philippines (23%), Indonesia (22%) and India (70%).[4] [5] It is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in Africa.[6]

3. Cancer Care Inequity Is Remarkably High In Developing Countries

Women in developing countries have access to fewer resources and are more likely to suffer serious morbidity and mortality from cancer than their counterparts in the developed world. Only 5% of the world’s total resources for cancer control reach the developing world.[7]

4. Social Taboo Is One of the Major Barriers To Access Of Screening Services

Reproductive cancers, especially breast cancers, are often shrouded in socio-cultural stigmas. In some conservative South Asian countries, the term “breast” is often completely avoided in public awareness raising campaigns and euphemisms such as “cancers of women” are used[8]. Social taboos and cultural sensitivities around women’s bodies prevent public discussions about reproductive cancers. It is also one of the main reasons behind low use of screening services by women and late diagnosis of breast cancers[9]. [10]

5. Getting a Mammogram Can Help Reduce The Risks of Death By Breast Cancer

Getting a mammogram can help reduce the number of deaths from the disease by 25 to 30%. Women should begin having mammograms yearly at age 40, or earlier if they’re at high risk. Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible.[11]

Read about ARROW’s work on reproductive cancers at http://arrow.org.my/work/reproductive-cancers/


[1] Incidence and mortality of female breast cancers in the Asia Pacific region.Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4069805/
[2] U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics
[3] Cancer Burden in Africa and Opportunities for Prevention. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1SqDuxw
[4] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/breast-cancer-top-killer-among-women-lung-cancer-among-men-in-india/
[5] Ibid.
[6] Cancer Burden in Africa and Opportunities for Prevention. Retrieved from: http://bit.ly/1SqDuxw
[7] Cancer Care Inequity for Women in Resource-poor Countries. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046761/
[8] “In Conservative Pakistan, fighting breast cancer means fighting taboos”. The Star. Retrieved from: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/01/20/in_conservative_pakistan_fighting_breast_cancer_means_fighting_taboos.html
[9] Culture, attitude and knowledge about breast cancer and preventive measures: a qualitative study of South Asian breast cancer patients in the UK. Retrived from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22126509
[10] Reproductive Cancers: Women’s Access to Screening Services. ARROW For Change. Retrived from: http://arrow.org.my/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/AFC-Vol.3-No.3-1997_Reproductive-Cancers.pdf
[11]Mammography: Benefits, Risks, What You Need to Know. Retrieved from: http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/mammograms/benefits_risks