two types of HPV virus know to cause
approximately 70 per cent of cervical
The hardest female cancer to detect is
ovarian cancer, which has few detectable
signs. The exact cause of ovarian cancer
is unknown, but genetics can play a role
and when it is found, it’s often too late
for effective treatment. Again, regular
checkups and early screening are central
to the health of women in your life.
A disease that affects more than the
body, cancer can also diminish intimacy
and sex before, during and after treatment. When it does, women and men
can talk to one another and with their
health-care professional about how and
when to start having sex after cancer.
Nelson says he appreciates more
men are coming to appointments with
the women in their life after treatment,
and asking about sexual intimacy.
Open communication is a pillar to
any healthy, and intimate, relationship.
The big C
Breast cancer is the most common type
of cancer in Canadian women; nearly
23,000 women are diagnosed each year.
On the upside, women’s tendency to
seek help, guidance and support can be
life-saving when it comes to screening
for all types of cancer.
Uterine cancer affects almost 4,000
Canadian women each year. Hormones
taken during and after menopause can
increase a woman’s risk, but uterine
cancer is often caught early with
screening and is quite treatable, says
Dr. Gregg Nelson, and an assistant
professor of gynecologic oncology at the
Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.
Health Canada says one in 150 women
will develop cervical cancer during her
lifetime. The main risk for cervical
cancer is the sexually transmitted
human papilloma virus (HPV) that
infects the cervix. In Alberta, an HPV
vaccine protects young women against
Women have a higher risk of some
mental illnesses such as eating disorders,
depression and anxiety, the most common
mental illnesses among Canadian
women, says Dr. Michael Trew, senior
medical director of Addiction and Mental
Health Strategic Clinical Network with
Alberta Health Services.
“Often depression and anxiety
run together,” explains Trew. “People
can be both anxious and depressed.
It’s not uncommon.” And women are
more likely than men to get depressed
because of their biology, hormones
and life cycle.
When supporting a woman with a
mental illness, it’s important to remember:
when men talk about a problem, they
are talking towards a solution, whereas
sometimes, women just need to talk
about the problem, period. As a man,
try to lend your ear and be supportive
without trying to find a solution.
Your support can include helping to
find the right health-care professional,
taking over some tasks and encouraging
her to do what she needs to heal. Women
generally appreciate being cared for.