Some people intentionally ignore possible cancer symptoms. It is usually denial but not always. Young people have a tendency to believe that cancer is a problem for older people and although in a lot of cases that is true, young people are more frequently being diagnosed with cancer. Some have a cultural belief that cancer is incurable so why go there. It has been studied the earlier you find the cancer the better the chances of survival.
Here are the 15 possible cancer symptoms women sometimes ignore.
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
Although most women would be very happy to lose weight without trying it can be a symptom of something more serious. If you experience sudden weight loss, 10 lbs. in a month, without changing your eating or exercising habits, you should see your doctor.
It could be something other than cancer, such as an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. The doctor should check for this and then do a process of elimination for other causes.
Some symptoms of ovarian cancer is bloating. Other symptoms include abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full quickly when eating very little, and urinary problems such as an urgent need to use the washroom.
If you experience bloating on a daily basis and lasts more than a few weeks you need to see your doctor.
3. Changes in your breasts
Most women know their breasts, even if they do not do self exams on a regular basis. We are always on the lookout for lumps but that is not the only obvious symptoms. Redness and a change in the thickness of the skin in your breasts could be a symptom of a rare but aggressive type of breast cancer known as inflammatory breast cancer. If you have a rash that persists over w few weeks you need to make an appointment with your doctor.
Changes in the nipple can also be symptoms. If you have a discharge coming from your nipple and you are not breast feeding, get it checked. Likewise, if your nipple is usually turned out and now it is turned in, that is not a good sign. If they are inverted (turned in) naturally, no worries. It is the change in appearance that could be a worrisome concern.
4. Between Period Bleeding or Other Unusual Bleeding
Think of what is normal for you in regards to your regular periods. If you never spot in between your periods and you have started to do so, that is abnormal. For some other women that may be normal, spotting between periods.
Premenopausal women have a tendency to ignore between period bleeding as well as bleeding from the GI tract, which they attribute to their period. In between period bleeding, especially if you are regular, should be checked out. GI bleeding could be a sign of colorectal cancer. As should bleeding after menopause as that could be a sign of endometrial cancer. This is a common gynaecologic cancer and at least three quarters who get it have had abnormal bleeding as a sign.
5. Skin Changes
As well as looking for changes in moles you should also look for a change in pigmentation of the skin as a warning. If you suddenly develop bleeding on your skin or excessive scaling you should have it checked. Although it is hard to say how long you should watch these signs, you should have it checked within a few weeks if it does not clear up.
6. Difficulty Swallowing
You may have noticed this symptom already and decided to adjust your food intake accordingly, such as soups, liquids and protein shakes. That difficulty could be a sign of GI cancer, such as in the esophagus. Be sure to have this checked out by your doctor.
7. Blood in the Wrong Place
If you notice blood in your urine or your stool get it checked! It could be colon cancer. Expect your doctor to ask questions and perhaps send you for a colonoscopy to examine your colon.
Seeing blood in the toilet from a menstruating woman would not be unusual but if not menstruating it could be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
Coughing up blood could also be a symptom and should be evaluated. If it happens once it may be nothing but if it happens more than once get it checked!
8. Gnawing Abdominal Pain and Depression
Any woman who has consistent pain in the tummy and is feeling depressed needs to see her doctor. There is a correlation between these two symptoms that relates to pancreatic cancer. The connection is not well understood but has been detected.
Women who have been pregnant may relate well to indigestion as they gained weight. Indigestion that is sudden and lasting should be checked. It could be a prelude to cancer of the esophagus, stomach or throat.
10. Mouth Changes
Smokers in particular should keep an eye out for white patches inside the mouth or white spots on the tongue. Both can point to a precancerous condition called leukoplakia that can progress to oral cancer. Be sure to go to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
As we age we all seem to get aches and pains that we didn’t have before. Although most pain is not caused by cancer, as vague as it may be, can sometimes be associated with early symptoms of cancer.
Pain that persists and is unexplained needs to be checked out. Your doctor will decide if further investigation is required.
12. Changes in the Lymph Nodes
If you notice a lump in your armpit or in your neck it may not be a good sign. Although lumps can appear for different reasons, such as a swelling of the glands to fight infection from a sting for example, an increase in the size of the lump/lymph node that lasts for longer than a month needs to be checked.
If you have a fever that is not related to influenza or another infection it could point to cancer. Fevers more often occur in cancers that have metastasized or migrated from it’s original source. It can also point to early stages of blood cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma. Other cancer symptoms can include jaundice or a change in the color of the stool.
Fatigue is another vague symptom that can point to cancer as well as a number of other diseases. It can set in as time goes on with cancer but sometimes it occurs earlier in some cancers such as leukemia and certain types of colon and stomach cancers. Better to be safe than sorry and get it checked if you have been tired for a long period of time.
15. Persistent Cough
Coughs are expected when sick with a cold , the flu, or allergies but not so when it is unexpected and persistent. A cough lasting for a month or longer without any other explanation has to be checked out. Your doctor will do a thorough exam which may include x-rays and lung functioning tests.
Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Please feel free to share ideas, thoughts, and suggestions in the comment area.