Men and women worldwide face a significant risk of cancer, with certain cancers impacting women more than men. While anatomical differences contribute to these variances, other factors also come into play. In the United States, cancer ranks as the second leading cause of death, trailing only heart disease, with approximately 1 in 4 American women succumbing to the disease.

Given the widespread impact of cancer, raising awareness is paramount. To shed light on the top three cancers responsible for the most deaths among women in the U.S., let’s delve into each one.

Lung and bronchus cancer takes the lead, claiming over 61,000 female lives annually. Although not the most frequently diagnosed, it holds the grim title of the deadliest. Cigarette smoke stands as the primary culprit, alongside radon gas and secondhand smoke. However, worsening air quality and exposure to hazardous chemicals contribute to the high diagnosis rates. Encouragingly, declining smoking rates and advancements in treating non-small cell lung cancer have led to a reduction in mortality rates.

Following closely behind is breast cancer, responsible for approximately 43,250 deaths each year. It ranks as the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women after skin cancer. Breast cancer can manifest at any age, with risk increasing with age. Various factors, including family history, weight, reproductive history, and lifestyle choices, influence susceptibility. While prevention remains elusive, routine screenings such as self-exams, mammograms, and annual healthcare provider evaluations are pivotal for early detection and intervention.

Lastly, colon and rectum cancer, also known as colorectal cancer or CRC, emerges as the third leading cause of female cancer-related deaths, claiming more than 24,180 lives annually in the U.S. This malignancy affects the intestines, including the rectum. Risk factors include age, family history, presence of polyps, and certain chronic intestinal conditions. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and dietary habits further elevate risk levels. Regular CRC screening, typically commencing in one’s 40s, aids in early detection and treatment planning.

Amidst these sobering statistics, advancements in medical science offer hope. For instance, breast cancer ctDNA testing is among some of the innovative approaches that hold promise in identifying predispositions and guiding personalized preventive measures and treatments.

In the quest to combat cancer, knowledge is power. To delve deeper into the most prevalent cancers affecting women and explore cutting-edge insights, refer to the accompanying resource from Natera. Together, let’s empower women with information and support in the fight against cancer.

Infographic provided by Natera