20 Signs of Cancer Usually Ignored by Women

Cancer testing has never been more advanced in certain aspects, and cancer awareness has never been higher. In some respects, it’s still primitive: ovarian cancer, the deadliest of gynecologic malignancies, still has no routine screening test. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to your health and be aware of any changes, no matter how minor.

“While cancer tests are highly useful, it’s also beneficial for patients to get in touch with their own body and symptoms,” says Taylor Graber, MD, owner of ASAP IVs and an anesthesiologist at the University of California-San Diego. “Patients know themselves best, and it’s difficult for a physician to determine if a symptom is new or concerning without being informed.” This is what you should eat, not that! Health enlisted the help of specialists to determine which cancer symptoms you should be aware of at all times.

1 Unusual Bleeding

“Women often overlook vaginal or rectal bleeding,” says Soma Mandal, MD, a women’s health specialist at Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, NJ. “This can indicate a potentially dangerous condition such as uterine or colon cancer. These symptoms can be frightening, and women may be hesitant to acknowledge that they require more testing.”

“It is essential to have your physician know if there is blood coming from a location where there typically isn’t,” adds Graber. “I encourage yearly exams and building a connection with your internist and gynaecologist,” Mandal adds. “Make sure you get all of your age-appropriate screenings and provide your doctor with a comprehensive family history.”

2 Constant Fatigue

“No matter how much sleep, relaxation, or coffee you get, if you feel widespread weariness, it might be an indication of cancer,” says Dr Jill Stocker, DO, a physician in West Hollywood, California. You may have a lack of enthusiasm and find yourself sleeping often during the day.

The Rx: See your general practitioner for routine medical checkups and screening tests, such as pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies, and bone density tests, as recommended by current medical standards.

3 Bloating

Bloating, discomfort or pressure that lasts more than two weeks from the pubic bone down below the ribcage are all indications of ovarian cancer, according to Shiva Ghofrany, MD, an OB-GYN in Stamford, Connecticut.

4 Unexpected Weight Gain

“Silent symptoms of ovarian cancer include unintentional weight gain and a change in bowel habits,” explains Kameelah Phillips, MD, an OB-GYN in New York City. “Ovarian cancer symptoms might be difficult to detect. Women might readily reject changes in bowel habits and weight gain by blaming them on menopause, age, or a poor diet.”

“Regardless of your family history, contact your doctor if these symptoms linger for a few weeks,” Phillips advises.

5 Unexpected Weight Loss

“This symptom may be seen as a benefit rather than a possible danger sign in the endless effort to reduce weight,” says Peterson Pierre, MD, a dermatologist in Thousand Oaks, California. “However, this might be problematic, especially if it is accompanied by a loss of appetite or bowel irregularities. Cancers of the oesophagus, liver, colon, and pancreas, as well as leukaemia and lymphoma, can all manifest in this fashion.”

“It’s critical to disclose these changes to your doctor as soon as possible,” Pierre advises, “to optimize your quality of life, treatment options, and survival.”

6 Skin Changes

Skin cancer can be detected by changes in a mole or freckle, as well as the emergence of new moles. “Conducting frequent self-examinations and reporting changes to a board-certified dermatologist might lead to early detection and save your life,” Pierre says.

The prescription: “Remember the term ABCDE while analyzing changes to aid with self-examinations,” adds Pierre. “A stands for asymmetry; B stands for border changes; C stands for colour changes; D represents for diameter changes or size increase, and E means for elevation, or vertical growth or evolution, or a growth that has altered through time.” If you notice any of these symptoms, see a doctor as soon as possible.

7 Skin Changes in Hard-To-See Areas

“How many women (and men) examine their backs, tops of heads, behind their ears, or feet?” asks Alain Michon, MD, medical director of the Ottawa Skin Clinic in Ontario, Canada. “Those regions are commonly overlooked, and they are equally vulnerable to skin cancer. Another indication that is sometimes overlooked is the vertical black streaking of the nail. It might be a symptom of subungual melanoma, a kind of nail-bed cancer.”

“Make careful to inspect your complete body for new or atypical changes or skin lesions once a year,” Michon advises. “If they occur, see your general practitioner for a medical evaluation and, if required, a skin biopsy.”

8 A Lingering Pimple

“Skin malignancies on the head and neck can occasionally resemble a pimple or blemish,” explains Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, a dermatologist in Boca Raton, Florida.

“Always keep an eye out for new growths,” Fromowitz advises. “Call your dermatologist and have it looked out if something is new or altering and continues for more than two weeks.”

9 Hoarseness

“Hoarseness, commonly known as dysphonia,” explains Inna Husain, MD, department chief of laryngology at Rush University Medical Center, “may be a symptom of vocal cord cancer.” “Dysphonia is frequently linked to laryngitis or voice usage, but it might also be a symptom of malignancy.”

The prescription: “After four weeks of persistent hoarseness, the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery suggests having the vocal cords examined with laryngoscopy,” Husain adds. “Examine your vocal cords with an otolaryngologist, or more precisely, a laryngologist. When vocal cord cancer is detected early on, it has a good chance of being cured.”

10 A White or Red Patch In The Mouth

“A white or red spot on the tongue, palate, gums, inner cheek or lip that doesn’t go away might be a symptom of oral cancer,” explains Sharona Dayan, MD, board-certified periodontist and owner of Aurora Periodontontal Care in Beverly Hills, California. “If it lasts more than three weeks, make an appointment with your dentist or physician.”

“To identify oral cancer early, contact your dentist twice a year and ask whether a regular cancer exam is included in the cleaning appointment,” Dayan recommends.

11 Irregular Periods

Regular periods that go from spotting to regular flow a few days in between periods, having only spotting for a period, having excessively heavy periods, using more feminine products than usual, bleeding after sex, or having a period or spotting years after having stopped your period are all signs of cancer, according to Stocker.

The Rx: If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

12 Chronic Pelvic Pain

“Women should get it looked out if they have any recurrent bloating or atypical pelvic pain—like feeling full too soon or difficulty peeing,” says Sharyn Lewin, MD, a gynecologic oncologist and creator of The Lewin Fund to Fight Women’s Cancers. “Any new symptoms that appear often or repeatedly should be examined.”

“Experiencing any of these symptoms one to two times is okay,” says Lewin, “but anything beyond that is a concern you should see a doctor about.”

13 Loss Of Appetite

Is this the first time you haven’t salivated when you saw your mother’s freshly cooked crepes? “A sudden lack of appetite,” adds Lewin, “may be a symptom of malignancy.”

The prescription: “The most essential thing is to be familiar with your own body. Anything that appears to be out of the ordinary should be investigated “she continues.

14 Being Overweight

“Studies suggest that being overweight is linked to 13 different forms of cancer,” adds Lewin. “According to the CDC, obesity is the cause of approximately 40% of all malignancies diagnosed in the United States.”
The prescription: “Everything speaks to the significance of a plant-based diet, which includes leafy green vegetables, a modest amount of healthy grains, and lean meats,” Lewin adds. “Avoid processed foods, saturated fats, and sugary foods.”

15 A New Type of Headache

“Many of us suffer from headaches on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Most people’s headaches follow the same pattern “Graber agrees. “However, even if it’s a small headache, it’s worth being assessed if you have a new headache you’ve never had before.” A brain tumour can cause headaches by increasing pressure in the brain or interfering with the absorption and distribution of cerebrospinal fluid.

Consult your doctor if you’re getting new-onset headaches.

16 Nausea and Vomiting

“Many of us suffer from headaches on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Most people’s headaches follow the same pattern “Graber agrees. “However, even if it’s a small headache, it’s worth being assessed if you have a new headache you’ve never had before.” A brain tumour can cause headaches by increasing pressure in the brain or interfering with the absorption and distribution of cerebrospinal fluid.

Consult your doctor if you’re getting new-onset headaches.

17 Night Sweats

“Many women ascribe this to menopausal or perimenopause-like symptoms,” explains Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, assistant professor of medicine at Rush University Cancer Center. “However, sweats that occur predominantly at night can be associated with various malignancies, such as lymphoma.”

The prescription: “See your primary care physician regularly, at least once a year,” Jain advises. “Whether something changes in your health in a major way, call your doctor and let them know so they can evaluate if additional testing is required.”

18 Chronic Pain

“Women tend to put themselves last when it comes to their own health requirements,” Mandal adds. “Persistent discomfort might also be neglected by women.”
“Don’t overlook new concerns,” she says, “and have yourself tested as soon as you can.” “Don’t place yourself at the bottom of the list.”

19 Shortness of Breath

Dr Nikki Stamp, FRACS, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Perth, Australia, notes that lung cancer is the top cause of cancer mortality among women. “Because women are more likely than males to be nonsmokers, both women and healthcare practitioners may overlook lung cancer at first. Shortness of breath, weight loss, chest discomfort, and weariness are frequent symptoms of adenocarcinoma, the most prevalent subtype of lung cancer in women.”

“More awareness,” Stamp adds, “may lead to more women requesting their doctor to consider lung cancer as a diagnosis.” “If anything isn’t right with your body, ask for aid and make sure you get an answer.”

20 Bleeding After Intercourse

“Bleeding after intercourse can often be a symptom of a more serious issue,” Phillips adds. It may be a sign of cervical cancer.

According to Phillips, “if bleeding after intercourse is a recurrent problem, it should be examined.” “It’s critical to make sure you’ve had a recent and normal pap smear, that you don’t have any infections, and that your anatomy is normal.”

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