10 Most Common Cancer Symptoms In Women
In an era when carcinogens are unwittingly sold off the supermarket shelves, and cells are more inherently restive than ever, more women need to be prudent. Fortunately, women are born natural hypochondriacs.
However, today’s generation of females would likely put a blind eye on the signs of cancer. They have learned to associate cancer with the elderly.
Or it could be plain denial on their part. People, men and women alike, have come to treat cancer as a death sentence, with no chance for pardon. It makes sense then, not to admit that you are as prone to cancer as the next person.
But then again, paranoia would not take you anywhere. Jumping at the slightest symptom of cancer would not give you a healthy lifestyle any more than denying it.
Doctors would recommend you to strike the healthy middle ground between hypochondria and complacency. Cancer is a disease best combated while in its earliest stages.
These are some symptoms you would have to watch out for:
Women would know well to watch out for lumps on their breasts, which often indicate breast cancer. But other breast cancer symptoms can be more elusive.
Look out for changes in the nipple. Some nipples are either outgoing in orientation or inverted; both are normal. Once they change orientation, then start worrying. In the same way, be wary of nipple discharges, especially when you are not breastfeeding.
Inflammatory breast cancer, a rare but no less fatal variation of the disease, tips itself off with other symptoms. This cancer comes with persistent rashes on the breast, plus thickening of the breast’s skin.
Have an appointment with your doctor if you detect such changes. He or she would either make you do self-exams or take mammograms, MRIs, ultrasounds and other tests.
Unexplainable weight loss
Weight loss has been elevated to a lofty pedestal unseen since Kate Moss sashayed on high catwalks. You would give anything for a svelte figure.
But don’t be too glad to suddenly shed pounds for no apparent reason. Cancer is almost synonymous with unexplained weight loss. Even if it isn’t, weight loss could point out an array of disorders, like hyperthyroidism.
Many women are so used to bloating that they forget it could be a symptom of cancer as much as weight loss. Bloating, alongside pelvic pain, abdominal pain, reduced hunger, and urinary problems may warn you of ovarian cancer. Consult your doctor if bloating happens daily and for multiple weeks.
Blood and irregular menstruation
Blood comes out of the body for many reasons. For example, blood in your feces could reflect hemorrhoid. But for all you know, it could be a symptom of colon cancer. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor and, if necessary, undergo colonoscopy if this happens.
Sometimes, the blood in your toilet may be menstrual. If it is not your period and blood comes from your vagina notwithstanding, seek medical attention to check for kidney or bladder cancer.
In fact, be wary of bleeding in between your periods, especially if you are regular. Also check for bleeding from your GI tract, a sign of colorectal cancer. As for menopausal women, abnormal bleeding might signal endometrial cancer, a frequent gynecologic disease.
As a rule of thumb, be on your guard for bleeding that deviates from your regular pattern. Spotting in one woman may not be normal for another. A doctor would best rule out bleeding as a symptom of cancer.
If you have coughed blood more than once, talk with your doctor now. Other than cancer, it could be a symptom of tuberculosis, among other life-threatening diseases. Coughing blood also comes with bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza and allergies.
Coughing that persists for more than three weeks should take you to the doctor already, who would at most order a lung X-ray.
Swollen lymph nodes
Look for a doctor too if your lymph nodes, located in the neck or under your armpit, swell. A lymph node that gets bigger and stays that way for more than 30 days is a danger sign. While an enlarged lymph node is not always cancer, it pays to be vigilant.
Watch out for changes in skin pigmentation, especially moles. Changes in the size of a mole may be skin cancer symptoms. Furthermore, go to a doctor if you detect excessive scaling and bleeding on your skin.
Have a dental checkup. White spots on the tongue and white patches within the mouth may be symptoms of leukoplakia, a condition that can worsen to oral cancer. Smokers, beware.
Difficulty Swallowing and Indigestion
Trouble in swallowing food may indicate GI cancer in the esophagus. Otherwise, it may be because you cannot chew solid food. Switch to a liquid diet, including protein shakes, oatmeals and soups if this is the case. If not, then seek a doctor.
If your problem isn’t swallowing food but digesting it, have yourself checked by the doctor too. Indigestion could be a symptom of stomach, throat or esophagus cancer. However, it is normal for some expectant mothers to experience indigestion while gaining weight.
Cancer contrives to exhaust your body, so fever – and fatigue – should unsurprisingly be among its many telltale symptoms. You may have learned to reckon fever as coming down with flu and other common infections. But fever also warns you of a cancer at its advanced stages.
If you have not detected cancer in its earlier stages, fever would serve as the body’s ultimate giveaway. You become feverish as cancer cells move on to further organs, depleting their nourishment. However, some cancers, such as lymphoma or leukemia, make you feverish early on.
When fever comes with jaundice and changes in the stool’s color, you will have not only consulted a doctor already. You have also subjected yourself to several tests. It may just save your life.