10 cancer symptoms women should not ignore
If you're healthy and young, you might not think of getting a cancer yet regardless of your age or family background, you should be aware and careful.
Several women get diagnosed with a gynecologic cancer each year, including endometrial cancer or uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer where women after menopause are more likely to develop certain cancers but gynecologic malignancies can however, also develop in women before menopause. If you're relatively healthy and young, you might not think of getting a cancer yet regardless of your age or family background, you should be aware and careful.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Aruna Kalra, Senior Gynaecologist and Obstetrician at CK Birla Hospital, shared, “Gynecologic cancers, in particular, often have hazy symptoms that resemble those of other diseases. Only cervical and breast cancers can be found with screening. Hence, by identifying these symptoms and discussing them with your gynaecologist or primary care physician, you'll boost your chances of discovering cancer at an early stage, while it's still very treatable.”
According to her, following are cancer symptoms that every woman should be aware of:
- Abnormal bleeding
In more than 90% of endometrial cancer patients, irregular bleeding occurs. Any bleeding, even spotting, should be examined if you have already had menopause. Not yet experienced menopause? - If you have severe bleeding, bleeding between periods, or bleeding while having sex, see a doctor. This might also be a symptom of vaginal or cervical cancer.
2. Changes in the breasts
The majority of breast cancers are found by women themselves while performing normal tasks like shaving, bathing, or even scratching. Watch out for breast or armpit lumps. Be on the lookout for nipple anomalies, changes in the sensation and appearance of your breasts, and changes to the skin on your breasts.
3. Changes in your bathroom habits
Feeling pressure on your bladder all the time or the sudden desire to urinate frequently? This could be an indication of cancer unless you've started drinking more liquids or are pregnant.
Dr Amit Verma, Molecular Oncologist and Cancer Geneticist at Dr AV Cancer Institute of Personalized Cancer Therapy and Research in Gurgaon, added to the list of cancer symptoms that women should not ignore. These include -
- Breast changes: Any unusual lump, thickening, or dimpling in the breast, or changes in the nipple, such as discharge or inversion, should be examined by a doctor.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding: Any bleeding after menopause, heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, or bleeding between periods should be evaluated.
- Abdominal or pelvic pain: Persistent or severe pain in the abdomen or pelvis could be a symptom of ovarian or other reproductive cancers.
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits: If you experience any changes in bowel or bladder habits, such as constipation, diarrhea, or difficulty urinating, it could be a sign of colorectal or bladder cancer.
- Unexplained weight loss: If you are losing weight without trying, it could be a sign of cancer, especially if you have a loss of appetite or are feeling tired.
- Skin changes: Any changes in the color, size, or shape of a mole or other skin lesions should be checked by a dermatologist.
- Persistent cough or hoarseness: A cough that persists for more than a month or hoarseness that lasts longer than two weeks could be a sign of lung cancer.
He concluded, “Breast lumps and bumps, abnormal vaginal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, persistent cough are 4 common symptoms that a women shouldn’t ignore. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor promptly to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.”
Even if you have one or more of these signs, you may not have cancer but if they persist for more than two weeks, see your doctor to be evaluated.