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Cancer Symptoms Women Shouldn't Ignore

Cancer Symptoms Women Shouldn't Ignore

A woman’s body is complex and is ever-changing. While many aches and pains may be normal, there are some instances in which a medical issue has presented itself and shouldn’t be ignored. The key for women to sustain their health is to listen and pay attention to their body. An onset of abnormal symptoms could be an indication of cancer.

Early detection is critical in a cancer diagnosis as well as care and recovery. Here is what every woman should look out for:

Breast Changes

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. Lumps and soreness in the breast can be normal. For example, breast tenderness during the monthly menstrual cycle is common and may not indicate breast cancer. However, it’s important to look out for the following changes:

  • Tender or itching breasts
  • Nipple discharge and sensitivity
  • Swollen breasts
  • Sore shoulders/ stiff neck
  • Changes in breast size
  • Dimpled breasts

If you notice any of the above symptoms to be constant, make an appointment with your doctor right away.


Bloating is a natural occurrence in women and can happen from time to time. However, it’s important to pay attention to bloating that is persistent and does not go away. Perpetual bloating could be symptoms of the following cancers:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Ovarian
  • Pancreatic
  • Uterine

If bloating is combined with weight loss or bleeding, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Unusual Bleeding

For women who still get their monthly period, it’s important to pay attention to spotting between cycles. Women who have already gone through menopause and have vaginal bleeding should be checked immediately. Unusual bleeding could point to the following cancers:

  • Endometrial
  • Uterine
  • Cervical

Changes in Skin Complexion

Early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer can increase your survival rate. It’s important for women to give themselves a spot check by using the ABCDE’s of skin cancer.

  • Asymmetry: One side of a mole or birthmark does not match the other side.
  • Border: Irregular or scalloped borders.
  • Color: Colors vary and may have shades of tan, brown and black or sometimes white, red, pink or blue.
  • Diameter: If the spot is larger than 6mm (the size of a pencil eraser) however, sometimes it can be smaller.
  • Evolving: If the mole or skin lesion is suddenly changing size, shape and/or color.

If you’ve noticed any of the above, contact your doctor for a skin cancer screening immediately.

Some other cancer symptoms that should be further investigated by your doctor are:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Persistent cough
  • Blood in urine or stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

For more information about cancer treatment and prevention, Parrish Medical Center can help answer your questions and concerns. Our comprehensive cancer program is recognized by the Commission on Cancer (COC). We offer the latest treatments, advances, and services in cancer screening, treatment, and care.