Tags: Cancer | Cancer Symptoms | Women | Cancer Detection | Health

Do I Have Cancer? 12 Symptoms Women Should Never Ignore

By    |   Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:30 PM

Women's bodies gradually change during every stage of maturation and most of these changes are expected, and natural. However, some symptoms of cancer mimic other conditions and may present in ways that are easily dismissed. If these symptoms are ignored, early cancer detection may be delayed and have significant repercussions on health.

Here are 12 symptoms that women should never ignore in case they might indicate cancer:

1. Postmenopausal bleeding: After menopause, even light spotting should be considered abnormal. This could be a symptom of uterine cancer and a trip to the gynecologist is in order. If caught early, survival rates for uterine cancer are high.

2. Unusual or prolonged bloating: Dietary changes, travel and temporary indigestion can cause bloating. However, bloating can also be an indication of ovarian cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, symptoms of ovarian cancer "tend to be persistent and represent a change from normal — for example, they occur more often or are more severe."

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3. Changes in breast tissue: Women are generally conscientious about checking for lumps in the breast. However, signs of dimpling around the nipple, any discoloration or discharge may be an early symptom of breast cancer and necessitates a physical exam.

4. Shortness of breath or persistent wheezing: These symptoms are easy to attribute to a cold or even seasonal allergies. As such, women may ignore them and just "carry on" with daily responsibilities. However, these are also the first signs of lung cancer.

5. Chronic fatigue: With hectic days and busy schedules, women are often tired by the end of the day. However, chronic fatigue and a feeling of weakness is an early symptom of many different types of cancer. Fatigue that cannot be attributed to circumstances or lifestyle and is not ameliorated by sufficient sleep should not be ignored

6. Unexplained weight loss: Unexplained weight loss combined with abdominal distension are symptoms of a bowel obstruction due to a tumor. According to Emedicine, "Studies suggest that the average duration of symptoms (from onset to diagnosis) is 14 weeks." As in all of the symptoms women should not ignore, time is of the essence when there is a possibility of a cancer diagnosis.

7. Abnormal pelvic pain: Pelvic pain that does not subside can be a symptom of several gynecological cancers including vaginal, ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer. A pelvic MRI or transvaginal ultrasound can quickly detect any pelvic or abdominal mass.

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8. Unexplained stomach pain and nausea: These are symptoms of several types of cancer including liver and colorectal cancer. If they persist, clearly they are an indication of something other than simple indigestion or a virus. While the condition might simply be acid reflux or an ulcer, ignoring these symptoms could prevent early cancer detection.

9. Persistent cough or chest pain: Lung cancer and leukemia often present with symptoms that are similar to a respiratory infection or bronchitis.

10. A swollen leg: Unexplained swelling of one leg may be a sign of advanced cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is very slow growing but can go undetected in women who do not have regular PAP tests. According to Gyn Cancer, "If the pelvic lymph nodes on one side of the pelvis become obstructed with cancer then that will cause swelling in the leg on that side."

11. Loss of appetite: Feeling "full" with limited food consumption is an appetite change that is a symptom of ovarian cancer. Not feeling hungry can be a symptom of many temporary conditions but if the symptom persists, it should not be ignored.

12. Changes in skin: Odd skin discolorations or changes in the size, symmetry or texture of a mole can be a symptom of skin cancer. The Mayo Clinic reports, "Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the legs in women. But it can also form on areas that rarely see the light of day — your palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails, and your genital area."

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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Women's bodies gradually change during every stage of maturation and most of these changes are expected, and natural. However, some symptoms of cancer mimic other conditions and may present in ways that are easily dismissed.
Cancer Symptoms, Women, Cancer Detection, Health
Tuesday, 10 February 2015 03:30 PM
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