13 Unusual Signs of Cancer in Women

Spot them now and save your life.

By Garth Baxter | April 28, 2020

The concerned weird feeling you have might be cancer?, I'll tell ya. It is important not to be ashamed of what your symptoms are. Early diagnosis gives patients better access to treatment and the best chance of survival. This means that it is very important that people know the warning signs and symptoms of cancer and seek help as soon as possible. Here is a list of signs/symptoms of cancer in women, some of which are less common and you need to know about them.

1. Pressure Symptoms in the Lower Part of Your Abdomen 

To experience this, you need to urinate frequently, get up several times a night, bloating, bloating after eating, abdominal or pelvis pain, and pain and/or changes in bowel movements. All of these can be symptoms of ovarian cancer.

2. Blood in Your Poo 

It could be a sign of bowel cancer. It can be red or dark and dissolves in the stool if it is caused by bowel cancer. Other symptoms, such as changes in bowel habits, may appear. For example, your bowels are more open than usual, have loose stools or sometimes due to constipation and wind. People with colorectal cancer often feel that they need to be reluctant to pass the chair, even if they only have the bowels open and have nothing to do (tenesmus). Other obvious symptoms include abdominal pain, soreness, weight loss, and anemia.

3. Feeling Sick 

It could be a sign of cancer. Cancer can produce toxins that cause nausea. As bowel cancer progresses, they can block the passage of food through the intestines and suppress other organs as well. Some cancers increase the amount of calcium in the bloodstream and can cause disease. Anxiety and stress can make symptoms worse.

4. Breast Changes

Although most women first consider breast lumps, breast cancer can cause other symptoms and signs. Tumors can pull the skin inwards and give the surface of the breast a fuzzy / torn appearance. This can change the shape and contour of the nipple area. Skin color may vary in this area and maybe, for example, red and tender. Breast cancer can cause nipple or chest pain - although this is not uncommon. Most breast cancer presentations are painless lumps.

Usually breast cancer (but not always) occurs in only one breast. So, pay attention to the asymmetry that develops in your breasts.

5. Abnormal Vaginal Discharge  

There are 5 gynecological cancers - endometrium, ovaries, cervical, vaginal, and vulva. Any of these can cause abnormal vaginal discharge (although vulval cancer is often lumps or ulcer).

As cancer progress and their blood supply increases, the surface cells die and merge into the blood and enter the vagina. It can cause a blood-stained, foul-smelling discharge. Sometimes it can be brown and watery. If you have an abnormal discharge, it is strongly recommended that you consult your doctor.

6. Unexpected Weight Loss

If you are over 60 and suddenly lose 5% of your body weight for more than 6 months without diet, you should see your doctor. There are many possible causes, but cancer is on the list, such as diabetes, dementia, excess alcohol consumption, and, for example, heart failure.

If you are overweight or obese, it is often difficult to say that you have lost weight. Obesity increases the risk of cancer.

7. Indigestion and Heartburn 

This can be a sign of stomach cancer especially if associated with abdominal pain,  nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.

8. Postmenopausal Bleeding

If you have been bleeding for more than six months after your last period, this should be checked. This may be staining or bleeding after intercourse, or sometimes hemorrhagic bleeding with HRT (which occurs when not expected) or while taking a breast cancer medication such as tamoxifen.

Regardless of age and whenever it occurs after menopause, it is highly recommended to report this to your doctor.

Possible serious causes are endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, cervical, vaginal and ovarian cancer. Sometimes the cause cannot be found or it may be a lack of estrogen which occurs slowly after menopause.

9. Changes to Moles/New Growths on the Skin

Skin cancer is growing rapidly. Keep an eye on the mole and report any concerns to your doctor, especially if the mole is itching or bleeding. Consider the following ABCD algorithm. Make your mole.

  • A – Asymmetrical – most melanomas are not symmetrical.
  • B — Border – the border or edge of the mole is jagged or irregular.
  • C —  Color – this is often varied and maybe blue, black, brown or pink in places.
  • D — Dimension – it's usually a reasonable size – bigger than 6mm in diameter.

10. Skin Rash on the Body With Itching

This may be due to a T cell lymphoma.

11. Chest Symptoms 

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women. However, there is a gender difference. Although the incidence of lung cancer for men has decreased by 35% in the last year, it has increased by 87% in women. A 2013 medical publication named genetic mutations and the effects of female hormones. Lung cancer is also quickly diagnosed in women who have never smoked.

Symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath, cough, nausea, vomiting and extreme tiredness. Sometimes there are frequent breast infections and coughing up blood. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness.

The best way to improve your health is to quit smoking. There was no better time now as there is so much help and support available.

12. Symptoms of a Brain Tumor

Brain tumors are rare. They can often present in a variety of ways with unusual persistent and severe headaches. They may be associated with nausea, vomiting and drowsiness. As the tumor grows, the pressure inside the skull increases. Vision may be blurred.

Tumors can be diagnosed after the first epileptic attack, for example. If you develop weakness on one side of the body or in one limb or experience strange symptoms such as swallowing or talking, it can be diagnosed on a CT or MRI scan.

You may also experience disordered thinking, personality changes, and memory loss. Sometimes loss of balance or coordination.

13. Nosebleeds and Heavy Periods

Rare leukemia and lymphoma can be accompanied by abnormal bleeding such as very heavy snoring, very heavy periods, heavy bleeding while brushing teeth, or very mild/heavy bleeding.

14. Get Screened!

Cancer screening tests are offered as a means of prevention and early diagnosis:

  • Cervical smears from age 25-64 — every 3-5 years
  • Mammograms are offered at age 50 — 71 every 3 years
  • Bowel screening starts at age 55 and continues to age 74.

Screening saves lives! You are strongly encouraged to attend to have these tests.

Dr. Deborah Lee is a medical writer at Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.

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