A woman’s body is constantly changing. As they are getting older, their bodies change more and more. Some of the changes that women go through may seem and are normal, but sometimes they are not. Unfortunately in some cases, those symptoms can be cancer signs.
“The key is to pay attention to your body so you can notice when something’s different,” says Robyn Andersen, PhD, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
It’s really important for woman to monitor the changes of their bodies. Human body has a way of telling us that something is wrong. So, whenever you notice new symptoms or new changes, it’s important to educate yourself about it by consulting your doctor.
In today’s busy daily life we have, thinking about something as awful as cancer probably isn’t among the things we consider. But we should be. Why? Because every year, almost 100,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with some type of cancer, especially gynecological cancer. Although most cancers occur in women after menopause, cancer can actually strike anyone at any age. One of the signs of cancer, especially gynecological cancer, can be similar to other conditions — very vague, and very difficult to describe sometimes.
No matter of the age, it is important for all women to know what to look for and what signs to be aware of so that they can alert their doctor immediately. Many cancers can be stopped and fully treated — but only if they are caught early.
The following cancer signs are mostly ignored by most women. Keep reading and do the same mistake as many.
Changes in the breasts: What women usually find in their breasts is a lump. In many cases, a lump does not mean cancer. But anyway, if you notice a lump on your breast, you should definitely consult your doctor. Also, if you notice any nipple discharge, nipples turning inward, or any redness or scaling of your nipple, make sure you tell your doctor that as well.
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your medical history. You may also have tests like a mammogram or a biopsy, when doctors remove a tiny piece of tissue for testing.
Bloating: According to Marleen Myers, an oncologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, women are natural bloaters, so it’s a good idea to wait for a week or two to see if it goes away. But if the bloating does not subside and includes weight loss or bleeding, consult your doctor. Constant bloating could be a sign of cancer, including breast, colon, gastrointestinal, ovarian, pancreatic, or uterine.
Depending on other symptoms, you will undergo tests which could include a pelvic exam as well as blood tests, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a CT scan or an ultrasound, to look for the cause of the problem.
Bleeding between periods: If you’re still getting periods, tell your doctor if you’re spotting between them. Bleeding that’s not a part of your usual monthly cycle can have many causes, but your doctor will want to rule out endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of your uterus). Bleeding after menopause is never normal and should be checked right away.
Changes in skin: Although changes of the moles may seem natural, these are common cancer signs. You might notice a mole that has grown bigger or some new spots on your body. It’s a good idea to tell your doctor who will perform a biopsy as soon as possible.
Blood in the urine or stool: “Talk to your doctor if you’re bleeding from a part of your body that normally doesn’t, especially if the bleeding lasts more than a day or two,” Meyers says. In most cases, blood in the urine or stool is caused by hemorrhoids, but it can also be a sign of a colon cancer, especially if you are bleeding more than two days.
Changes in the lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands around the body. Normally lymph nodes change somehow when they become infected. But some cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma, can also cause lymph nodes to swell and/or become tender. If the swelling is present for at least a month, talk to your doctor.
Troubles when swallowing: Occasional troubles with swallowing is not a big deal, so don’t worry. But, if this happens very often, especially vomiting or weight loss, your doctor will check you for throat or stomach cancer.
Weight Loss: Although losing weight is an eternal wish of many women, if this weight disappears without any extra exercise or a change in your diet, something could be wrong. In most of the cases, unexpected weight loss is caused only by stress, but sometimes it could be caused by pancreatic or colon cancer.
Heartburn: Heartburn is usually caused by extreme food or alcohol consumption, and if the reason is that, then it will disappear with time and rest. But if the heartburn does not go away, or it gets worse, it could be sign of a stomach, ovaries or throat cancer. Constant heartburn can damage the lining of the esophagus, and can develop into Barrett’s esophagus which raises the risk of developing throat cancer.
Changes of the mouth: Women who smoke will have white, yellow or gray patches inside their mouth. You could also develop a canker sore that looks like an ulcer with a crater in it. Any of these signs can signal oral cancer.
Fever: If you have a fever that does not go away and can’t be explained, that could mean leukemia or another blood cancer. Your doctor should give you a physical exam to check for the cause.
A cough: Most coughs go away within three to four weeks. But if the cough lasts longer than a month, you should not ignored it. If you’re a smoker or are having shortness of breath with this cough, consult your doctor. A cough is the most common sign of lung cancer.
Fatigue: A lot of women feel tired because of the hectic lives they lead, but extreme tiredness that won’t go away is not considered normal.
Pain: Usually cancer does not cause aches. But if you feel constant pain it can signal bone, brain, or other cancers, especially ones which have spread.
Belly pain and depression: It does not happen very often, on the contrary it’s really rare, but belly pain and depression added on it might be a sign of pancreatic cancer. Should you worry? Well, of course not, unless pancreatic cancer runs in your family, Meyers says. “Then you need a prompt examination.”