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Be in the Know: 5 Most Common Cancers in Women


Since the social media phenomenon of the no make up selfie has taken hold, donations to the Irish Cancer Society have increased at an incredible rate, and raised awareness of breast cancer amongst women. This got us thinking-  we know that huge numbers of women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ireland each year, but what are the five most common cancers that Irish women are dealing with and what symptoms should we be aware of to ensure we act fast and stay healthy?

We’ve done some research which you can check out below, but this certainly is not a substitute for medical advise. We haven’t graduated from medical school just yet! 😉

Skin Cancer- Non-melanoma and Melanoma


According to a report published last year by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, non melanoma skin cancers have overtaken breast cancer as the most diagnosed form of cancer amongst women in Ireland in recent years. There are several types of non melanoma skin cancers, which are usually slow growing and different from melanoma skin cancer, and symptoms include a lump or a discoloured patch of skin that will not heal, which can be scaly or scab like and may bleed.

The best advice is to know your skin and it is recommended that if something doesn’t heal after 4 weeks, take a trip to your GP. It may be nothing, but better safe than sorry!


Melanoma skin cancers are also very common amongst women in Ireland, accounting for almost 20% of all female cancer diagnosis’s in the country. This is generally acknowledged as a more dangerous form of skin cancer than non-melanoma skin cancer.

Melanoma’s usually look like moles, so if you notice a mole that wasn’t there before or a mole that is changing, get it checked out. The photo above indicates what you need to watch for. If a mole is not symmetrical or the same on both sides, does not have a clear border, changes in colour or grows in size, it’s time to visit the doctors office.

Breast Cancer


Due to the huge rate of diagnosis in this country, breast cancer is something that many charities and organisations launch awareness campaigns around. We just recently gave you the low down on what to look out for in response to all the no make up selfies you guys were posting on Facebook, but the photo above will serve as a little recap.

Be aware of any changes in your breasts, like redness, swelling, dimpling or puckering of the skin, a nipple turning inwards or discharge from the nipple and the classic symptom- a lump. Remember not all lumps mean cancer, but it’s important to have any change checked out by a doctor. For the full details on how best to perform a breast self exam, follow the link: https://sosueme.ie/juicy-gossip/5-steps-check-breasts/.

Colorectal Cancer


It’s not something most people like to talk about, but cancers of the colorectal area- also referred to separately as colon, bowel or rectal cancer, are the third most common cancers among women in Ireland. Symptoms include, but are not limited to- a change in toilet habits (going less or more), bleeding, discomfort in the tummy including cramps, gas and pain,  feeling like your bowels have not emptied completely and fatigue.

Lung Cancer


There are a huge array of symptoms when it comes to lung cancer, so always ask a doctor if you are worried.

Some of the most common symptoms are having a persistent cough for over two or three weeks, recurrent chest infections, coughing up blood, pain when coughing or breathing and breathlessness.

Uterine Cancer


Uterine cancer is actually the 6th most common cancer among women in Ireland, but we have grouped melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer together, so we have included information on this one too. Uterine cancer is often called cancer of the uterus or the womb and endometrial cancer. Although we are screened for cervical cancer from the age of 25 in Ireland, uterine cancer is actually more common according to recent statistics.

Some of the most common symptoms include bleeding between periods, periods becoming heavier, pain in the tummy and pain during sex. Gynaecological complaints aren’t always the most pleasant ones to visit the doctor with, but if you have any worries you’ll be glad you did!

(images and source: www.health.com, ncri.ie, nhs.uk, bad.org.uk, breastcancer.org, cancer.org, cancer.ie, healthytimesblog.com, foundationsforwomenscancers.org)


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