Each year, nearly 90,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer, such as endometrial (also known as uterine cancer), ovarian cancer, or cervical cancer. More than 242,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to studies and experts, women tend to be more vigilant than men about getting recommended health checkups and cancer screenings.
But not always. Younger women, for instance, tend to ignore symptoms that could point to cancer. “They have this notion that cancer is a problem of older people,”. And they’re often right, but plenty of young people get cancer, too. This is why we intend to uncover some signs of cancer mostly ignored by women.
1)Unexplained Weight Loss
Nearly everyone loses or gains weight at some point in their lifetime. Diet, exercise, pregnancy, hormonal changes and ageing all can affect weight, and fluctuations are generally normal.
Unexplained weight loss, however, is not considered normal and may be a sign of a serious illness, such as cancer. In fact, weight loss can be both a symptom of cancer and a side effect of treatment or the illness itself.
Many women would be delighted to lose weight without trying. But unexplained weight loss, for example, if you lose say 10 pounds in a month without an increase in exercise or a decrease in food intake should be a clear sign you need to check things out. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight by exercising and making healthier food choices can actually help curb your cancer risk. But if you suddenly lose more than 10 pounds without changing your diet or exercise habits, talk to your doctor
Can bloat or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in your belly be a sign of cancer?
It’s normal to experience some bloating, especially after eating gassy foods or around the time of your menstrual period. But, persistent bloating that doesn’t go away is actually one of the most common symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Bloating that’s related to cancer may cause visible swelling in your abdomen. Your belly might feel full, puffy, or hard. You may also have other symptoms, like weight loss.
Most women feel bloated after eating or drinking too much and around their period. But it is necessary to see a doctor if you notice yourself feeling bloated more often than not, or if you have difficulty eating or feeling full quickly after eating
3) Unusual Bleeding.
About 90% of women with endometrial cancer have abnormal vaginal bleeding. This might be a change in their periods, bleeding between periods, or bleeding after menopause. Non-cancer problems can also cause abnormal bleeding.
Vaginal bleeding or rectal bleeding is at times ignored by women. This can often signal a worrisome process such as uterine or colon cancer. These signs can often be scary and women may not want to admit that they need further testing.
Bloody, dark, or smelly discharge is usually a sign of infection. But sometimes, it’s a warning sign of cervical, vaginal or endometrial cancer.
The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding, ranging from a watery and blood-streaked flow to a flow that contains more blood. Vaginal bleeding during or after menopause is often a sign of a problem. If there is bleeding coming from a place where they’re usually isn’t, it is best to have your physician aware
4) Skin Changes.
Skin changes are part of normal ageing, but sometimes changes to the skin provide us with an early warning of impending medical problems.
Let us talk about Skin cancer, which is the abnormal growth of skin cells, often it develops on skin exposed to the sun, especially frequent sunburns in childhood. In addition to wrinkles, there are other common skin changes. But this common form of cancer can also occur on areas of your skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight.
Most of us know to look for any changes in moles a well-known sign of skin cancer. But we should also watch for changes in skin pigmentation.
It’s difficult to say how long is too long to observe skin changes before you go to the doctor, but most experts say no longer than several weeks
Regular examination of the skin for any new or unusual growths, or changes in the size, shape, or colour of an existing spot, is key to finding and treating skin cancers early. This is why If you find anything suspicious, you should discuss it with your primary care physician or a dermatologist.
Dysphagia means difficulty swallowing, Swallowing is a complex action involving the muscles and nerves within the pharynx and oesophagus. difficulty swallowing means you are having trouble passing food or liquid down the throat. Some people may gag, cough, or choke when trying to swallow. Others may feel like food is stuck in their throat.
One cause is cancer, especially in the mouth, throat, or oesophagus. Cancer growing in these parts of the body may narrow these passages.
Tumours in or near your digestive tract can press on your stomach. You may find it hard to eat because you feel full. Cancer can also send out hormones that interfere with your hunger signals.
If you feel as though food is getting stuck in your throat or you have trouble swallowing for more than two weeks, this can be a sign of throat, lung or stomach cancer.
It’s important to be aware of the early warning signs of cancer such as bruising easily so that if you are diagnosed with cancer, you can receive treatment as soon as possible. However, while experiencing these symptoms can be frightening, it’s important to keep in mind that many of them are also common signs of less serious conditions, such as an infection. Cancer patients often have problems with excessive bleeding and bruising.
A bruise on the shin from bumping into the coffee table is normal. But suddenly getting a lot of bruises in unusual places that haven’t been bumped can indicate various blood cancers.
Bruising and bleeding more easily than normal may be a side effect of your cancer treatment. The most common reason for cancer patients to experience excessive bruising or bleeding is a low platelet count, a condition also referred to as thrombocytopenia. Platelets are necessary for blood clotting.
7) Constant Fatigue.
Fatigue is an extreme feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, often described as being exhausted. Fatigue is something that lasts even when a person seems to be getting enough sleep. It can have many causes, including working too much, having disturbed sleep, stress and worry, not having enough physical activity, and going through an illness and its treatment.
A sudden, lasting change in your energy level, no matter how much sleep you’ve been getting, can be a sign of leukaemia or lymphoma. You may lose motivation and find yourself napping multiple times a day. Many cancers release substances called cytokines, which are thought to cause fatigue. The stresses and strains of modern-day life leave many of us feeling in constant need of rest. However, if you experience persistent fatigue both in the form of tiredness and breathlessness even when you are seated or resting, go to see a doctor as soon as possible. Whilst in many cases, fatigue will not be linked to a more serious condition, it can also be an indicator of anaemia which is a primary symptom of blood cancer.
8)Non-Period Bleeding or Discharge
Premenopausal women tend to ignore between-period bleeding. They also tend to ignore bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, mistakenly thinking it is from their period. But between-period bleeding, especially if you are typically regular should be something to watch out for. bleeding after menopause could be a symptom of endometrial cancer. gastrointestinal bleeding could also be a symptom of colorectal cancer.
Tell your doctor if you’re spotting between your periods or have a bloody, smelly discharge. These things are usually caused by an infection. But sometimes they’re a sign of cervical, vaginal, or endometrial cancer.
If you’ve gone through menopause, see your doctor right away if you’re bleeding. That’s never normal.
9) Breast lump.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, affecting around 2.1 million women each year. The earliest symptoms of breast cancer are often better felt than seen.
The most common sign noticed by women early on in breast cancer is a painless lump in the breast or in the armpit. Any such mass with or without changes in the skin of the breasts, the shape of the nipple, or bloody discharge from the nipples should be a warning sign.
During a breast self-exam, you may notice lumps or differences in the texture and appearance of your breasts. While this may be worrisome, often only 3% to 6% of these changes are due to breast cancer.
hence being aware of one’s breast through regular examination by self or a clinician, can help detect sudden changes in the breast that warrant further investigation.
10) persistent indigestion or nausea.
Occasionally, persistent indigestion or nausea can signal gynecologic cancers.
Nausea and vomiting are common and sometimes serious side effects of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other cancer treatments can cause nausea and vomiting.
Nausea is feeling queasy, sick to your stomach, or like you might throw up. Vomiting is throwing up the food and liquid in your stomach.
Feeling nauseous may be a symptom of high levels of calcium in your blood (hypercalcaemia). If cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells make the bone break down and release calcium into the blood. This can cause you to feel tired, thirsty, and confused.
Whether you’re a woman or a man, it’s important to always be in tune with any changes in your body or energy levels. The earlier you notice a problem, the more quickly it can be addressed, increasing your chances of healing.
Above all, making healthy lifestyle choices to reduce your chance of getting cancer is something everyone can start doing today.