The Biggest Cancer Symptoms Women May Be Ignoring
Cancer is something that can surprise us. Many people don’t know they have cancer until they go in for a doctor’s appointment and receive the dreaded news. Cancer is discussed in the context of symptoms, but what we don’t often realize is we’re talking about chemotherapy symptoms, not the cancer itself. It’s misconception that cancer will make your hair fall out or your appetite vanish — that’s what chemotherapy does.
When we talk about cancer symptoms, we talk about the physical signs that may alert us to the fact that we may have cancer. For women, the real symptoms that are talked about relate to pain and masses. Breast cancer is commonly associated with discolorations and rashes, but mostly with the feeling of a lump in the breast or duct tissue. These are very common breast cancer symptoms, and noticing them early can lead to a higher remission and removal rate.
However, women aren’t just limited to breast and ovarian cancer, and these other cancers often come with average symptoms that many assume are just other, less deadly illnesses. It’s important to not assume that any health concern is cancer, but checking in with your doctor about persistent minor symptoms can be how you find out about a cancer risk and get treatment early.
These symptoms are commonly associated with minor medical grievances, but they are also symptoms of various forms of cancer.
Feeling a constant sense of tiredness is often associated with cancer as a chemotherapy symptom, but it can also be an actual cancer symptom. The problem is that many people experience fatigue for a myriad of reasons. From exhaustion to stress, fatigue is actually something that millions of Americans experience just because they work hard and rest lightly.
Sometimes sleep doesn’t help fatigue, and this is when you should be concerned. Many women assume these drowsy days are because of work stress, child wrangling or day to day stress. However, the real reason could be cancer. Even the most curable forms of cancer can be exhausting because the cancerous cells attack your body’s energy supplies in order to multiply and survive. If you feel chronic fatigue, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor anyway in order to find a cure for your tiredness.
Abdominal Weight Gain and Pressure
A common area for women to gain weight is in their abdominal region. There’s already an existing layer of fat here that’s tied into biological reproduction; this fat layer is meant to protect the uterus and other reproductive organs. Gaining weight here is normal in the context that women who gain weight will often find that fat deposits in this area.
This is especially true for women as they age, but cancer might also be the culprit. Ovarian cancer can lead to bloating that last for weeks, and it’s often more uncomfortable than average weight gain. If you find that the weight being gained in your pubic area is painful and persistent, schedule a visit with your gynecologist.
At the same time, many women of any age can experience painful abdominal pressure. This is often associated with PMSing or period cramps and for many women this is the actual culprit. This may be a sign that leads to cancer if it’s out of sync with a normal menstrual cycle or if the pain persists outside of a period. This pain is also abnormal as compared to post menstrual cramps and instead feels like a heavy weight.
Most people would love to lose 10 or 15 pounds. However, when the change occurs suddenly and without a catalyst, it’s actually cause for concern.
No matter the cause of the extreme and sudden weight loss, this is always a sign for alarm. Even if you’re aware of the catalyst, like you’ve started a new diet, losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time isn’t healthy unless you’ve discussed extreme weight loss with a medical health professional. In the context of cancer, sudden rapid weight loss can be a symptom of late stage stomach, lung, pancreatic or esophageal cancer. The rapid weight loss is a sign that the cancer has been present for some time.
Every woman is bound to experience an abnormal menstrual cycle in her lifetime. From an extremely heavy period to bleeding outside of a regular menstrual cycle, women are quick to brush these symptoms off as inconveniences. However, they may be a sign of ovarian or uterine cancer in premenopausal women.
In conclusion, there are various different changes that a woman can go through that may be seen as just a one-time health scare, but other health concerns may actually be the cause. If any abnormal symptom rears its head, don’t brush it off as something to ignore. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.