How society negatively impact the way women approach cancer prevention


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Sexism is causing thousands of British women to die from preventable cancers every year, a new report claims.

The unequal power dynamics in society negatively impact the way women approach cancer prevention, care and treatment, according to research into gender inequality in cancer.

The new Lancet Commission found that gender inequality and discrimination affect women’s rights and ability to avoid cancer risk factors.

It also hinders their ability to seek and obtain timely diagnosis and quality cancer care, decreasing their chances of survival.

Despite cancer being one of the leading causes of premature death, women’s health care often focuses on reproductive and maternal health, they say.

It is estimated that 24,000 women in the UK die from cancer, which is preventable (stock image)

Women are not fairly represented in research trials or in leadership roles in the cancer sector, they found.

Academics have conducted a global analysis of premature deaths from cancer among people aged 30 to 69.

Broken down by country, they estimate that 24,000 women in Britain die from cancer, which is preventable.

Six of these 10 premature cancer deaths among women in Britain could be averted through prevention and earlier diagnosis, they suggest, while the remaining 40 percent could be achieved by improving access to timely and quality treatments.

Highlighting gender bias in cancer care, the researchers state that women may face a host of factors that “may limit women’s rights and opportunities to avoid modifiable cancer risks and hinder their ability to receive prompt diagnosis and quality cancer care.” to seek and obtain’.

They said that ‘patriarchy dominates cancer care, research and policy making’ and called for sex and gender to be included in all cancer-related policies and guidelines.

Smoking, high body weight and drinking alcohol are among avoidable risk factors for women in Britain, they said.

Yet only 19 percent of women attending breast cancer screenings in Britain are aware that alcohol is a risk factor for the disease.

Society's unequal power dynamics are negatively impacting how women approach cancer prevention, care and treatment, research into gender inequality in cancer shows (stock image)

Society’s unequal power dynamics are negatively impacting how women approach cancer prevention, care and treatment, research into gender inequality in cancer shows (stock image)

Globally, approximately 2.3 million women die prematurely from cancer every year in the 185 countries surveyed.

According to the findings published in the journal The Lancet Global Health, approximately 1.5 million deaths could be averted through prevention or early detection, and 800,000 deaths could be averted if all women everywhere had access to the gold standard of cancer care.

Dr. Ophira Ginsburg, senior advisor for clinical research at the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Global Health and co-chair of the committee, said a “feminist approach to cancer” is needed to restore balance.

She said: ‘Globally, women’s health is often focused on reproductive and maternal health, in line with narrow anti-feminist definitions of women’s value and role in society, while cancer remains completely under-represented.

‘Our committee emphasizes that gender inequality has a significant impact on women’s experiences with cancer. Tackling this requires that cancer is seen as a priority issue in women’s health and that we call for the immediate introduction of a feminist approach to cancer.”

Co-author Professor Nirmala Bhoo-Pathy, from University Malaya and Queen’s University Belfast, said: ‘Gender norms mean that women are often expected to prioritize the needs of their families at the expense of their own health, sometimes leading to delaying seeking health care. .

‘This may be exacerbated because gender norms in many settings also exclude men from participating in child care, meaning it is difficult for a mother to find child care while seeking care for their own health needs.’