These symptoms may seem normal or minor to many women, but ignoring them could be extremely costly in the long run.
Cancer is an utterly terrifying disease, but knowing the diagnosis is an incredibly important step to being able to fight the condition. The first step to getting diagnosed is to recognize symptoms.
Because many of cancer’s symptoms could be indicative of other diseases, it’s easy to ignore them. The trick is that everyone should know their body, and know when something strange or unusual is happening.
If there are unusual aches or pains, see a doctor to have them checked out, allowing them to rule out anything overly dangerous.
Here are just 15 symptoms that are often ignored by women that could indicate cancer.
1. Post-menopausal bleeding
Light spotting after menopause is not uncommon. But if you start bleeding like you did during menstruation it could be a sign of uterine cancer. Luckily, if this is diagnosed immediately and is still in stage 1, there is an 88% survival rate
2. Breast dimpling, discoloration, and other changes
Most women know to look for lumps in the breasts as a sign of breast cancer, but there are many other things that could also point towards the deadly disease.
If the breasts suddenly become dimpled, a nipple inverts, there is any swelling, tenderness, or slight discoloration of the skin to a deeper red or pink, it could also indicate breast cancer.
3. Stomach pain or nausea
Don’t let cancer be the first thing thought when that nausea hits. There are many reasons for nausea or suffering from cramping, and more than likely stomach pain is not indicative of cancer.
But if it is persistent over a prolonged period of time, a visit to a doctor is in order. If it is a form of cancer, it could be a sign of leukemia, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, or colorectal cancer.
It’s quite normal for women to suffer from bloating when it’s that time of the month. But if this continues once the cycle is over, or consistent constipation is experienced, this could point to ovarian or uterine cancer.
If it continues for a couple of weeks, it’s obviously something that should be a concerned. Many people may also feel full all the time, despite eating less.
5. Abnormal periods and pelvic pain
While some women do have irregular periods, a generally regular cycle that suddenly becomes irregular, or bleeding becomes heavier and there is bleeding between periods, this is a sure warning signal.
Sudden pelvic pain is also a red flag. A doctor will need to perform a transvaginal ultrasound to look for various different forms of vaginal cancer, or uterine or ovarian cancer.
6. Regular fevers or infection
Sudden regular fevers or infections to a normally healthy person could indicate leukemia. The blood cancer causes the body to produce abnormal white blood cells, which weakens the immune system.
If the symptoms don’t go away, be sure to see a doctor.
7. Chronic coughing
Coughing accompanying a cold is perfectly normal. But coughing for more than 3 weeks without any other cold symptoms, could be an early symptom of lung cancer. Coughing up blood is also not normal, and should immediately be investigated.
8. Trouble swallowing
An intense sore throat for a few weeks that only gets worse requires a doctor. This could be a symptom of either throat, stomach, or lung cancer.
9. Unexplained bruising
A random bruise now and again isn’t a big deal. But the sudden appearance of big, dark bruises popping up in unexplained places – like the hands or the fingers – is a cause for concern.
Bruising could be a sign of leukemia, as it inhibits the blood from clotting properly and carrying oxygen.
10. Sudden weight loss
If those last five pounds are lost steadily through diet and exercising, this is perfectly normal.
But a sudden loss of appetite for someone who usually eats a hearty meal three times a day is something that should be discussed with a doctor.
Sudden loss of appetite and weight loss can point to a number of different cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, and colon cancer.
11. Persistent fatigue
Everyone has days where the caffeine just isn’t enough and the body needs an extra few hours of sleep. But solid exhaustion for more than a month and suffering from shortness of breath warrants a trip to the doctor.
While this doesn’t commonly point to cancer, there is a chance it could be symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma.
12. Chronic headaches
People who don’t often suffer from headaches or migraines and suddenly have to take painkillers on a daily basis, could be exhibiting symptoms of a brain tumor pressing on nerves.
13. Blood in the stool
While this is often linked to something benign like hemorrhoids, it could be a symptom of colon cancer. Because it doesn’t always point to cancer, many people reassure themselves that it’s nothing.
Just remember that blood in a bowel movement is never normal. Get it checked out as soon as possible.
14. Skin changes
Any drastic changes in the skin could indicate skin cancer. Any moles changing size, color, becoming assymetrical or raised, need to be looked at.
There are many different types of skin cancers, and different changes in the skin could be an indication of different types of skin cancers. Usually most of them are easily treatable if they are caught early.
15. Sores or pain in the mouth
Sores inside the mouth that don’t go away after a prolonged period, white or red patches on the tongue, swelling of the jaw, or consistent pain, could point to a form of mouth cancer.
Any of these symptoms that stick around for longer than 2 weeks need to be seen by a doctor.