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Top 10 Cancer Symptoms Women Need to Know

Cancer Symptoms in Women

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Updated March 18, 2014

Women need to be vigilant about symptoms they may be experiencing.  Many types of gynecologic cancer produce symptoms early enough for them to be successfully treated. When the symptoms are ignored, the delay in treatment can prove to be fatal. Ladies, listen to your bodies! If you are experiencing something abnormal for you, see your doctor. Chances are the symptoms aren't cancer related, but it's better to be safe.

1. Pelvic Pain

Woman talking with her doctor
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Pelvic pain is characterized by pain or pressure below the navel. It is persistent and isn't limited to just premenstrual syndrome. Pelvic pain is associated with endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, fallopian tube cancer and vaginal cancer.

2. Abdominal Swelling and Bloating

Abdominal swelling and bloating is one of the more common symptoms of ovarian cancer. It is also a symptom that is most ignored. The bloating may be so bad that one can't button their pants, or even have to go up a size.

3. Persistent Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain occurs in the lower back and often feels like a dull ache. Some women describe it as feeling like labor pains. Lower back pain is a symptom of ovarian cancer.

4. Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom experienced by women when they have a gynecologic cancer. Heavy periods, bleeding between periods, and bleeding during and after sex are all considered abnormal vaginal bleeding and are symptoms of gynecologic cancer. The symptom of abnormal vaginal bleeding is linked to: cervical cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer.

5. Persistent Fever

A fever that does not go away or lasts for more than 7 days on and off should be reported to your doctor. A stubborn fever is often a symptom of cancer. Keep in mind that a fever is also a symptoms of many other benign conditions.

6. Persistent Stomach Upset or Bowel Changes

If you experience constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stools, gas, thinner stools, or just a general overall change in bowel habits, see your doctor. These changes are all symptoms of gynecologic cancer and colon cancer.

7. Unintentional Weight Loss

Losing 10 or more pounds without trying may be a nice surprise, but isn't quite normal. Although a woman's weight may fluctuate throughout the month, any thing 10 pounds or more should be reported to your doctor.

8. Vulva or Vaginal Abnormalities

With vulvar or vaginal abnormalities, you should be aware of any sores, blister, changes in skin color, and discharge. Women should exam their vulva and vagina regularly to look for these abnormalities.

9. Changes in the Breast

During the monthly breast self exam, women should look for lumps. soreness, nipple discharge, dimpling, redness, or swelling. Report any changes to your doctor as soon as possible.

10. Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced cancer symptom. It is usually more common when the cancer has advanced, but still occurs in the early stages. Any type of fatigue that prevents you from doing normal daily activities need to be evaluated by a doctor.
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