Five cancer symptoms women should never ignore

Caroline Cassidy
Senior Adult Breast Cancer Survivor in Deep Thought.See more from this series:
Senior Adult Breast Cancer Survivor in Deep Thought.See more from this series:

Pic: Getty Images

Generally speaking, women are much more likely than men to go to the doctor if there is some health issue they are concerned about. Nevertheless, cancer symptoms aren't always obvious. If you suffer any of these health issues or notice these signs, don't dismiss them - book an appointment with your GP just to be safe.

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A bloated tummy may seem innocent enough, but in some cases it could be related to ovarian cancer. If you suffer from bloating almost every day for more than a few weeks, or develop other symptoms such as abdominal or pelvic pain, feeling full even when you haven't eaten much, or find yourself suddenly needing to go to the bathroom with urgency, you should get tested.

The menstrual cycle is a regular feature of every woman's life, but bleeding between periods is not something to ignore. If you experience abnormal bleeding, particularly if you are usually regular, or are bleeding after the menopause, endometrial cancer could be the reason. Similarly, blood in the urine or stools may point to colorectal cancer.

Breast changes
Breast cancer is the most common type amongst women in the UK, and it is essential that you check your breasts for lumps and attend screenings when offered. But that's not the only symptom of the disease to watch for. A redness and thickening of the skin on the breast may indicate a rare form of cancer, and any rash that persists over several weeks should be checked out. Changes in the appearance of the nipple, i.e. sudden inversion, or discharge when not breastfeeding also means you should book a doctor's appointment.

A lump or swelling of the lymph nodes under the armpit or in the neck, which grow in size over a period of a month or more, is another symptom to note.

Unexplained weight loss
Losing a few pounds without trying might come as a happy surprise to some women, but weight loss where there has been no change in diet, exercise, illness or stress levels, may not be reason to celebrate. While unexplained weight loss - 10 pounds of more in the space of 30 days - could indicate a number of other conditions, including an overactive thyroid or diabetes, many cancer sufferers also display this symptom. So don't delay - see your GP.
It may not seem important, but indigestion for seemingly no reason should be taken seriously. If you suffer from indigestion without some kind of trigger, such as a heavy or spicy meal, it may be an early sign of stomach, throat or esophageal cancer. A regular abdominal pain should also not be ignored, particularly if you are depressed, as research has shown a link between depression and pancreatic cancer.

Are you careful about keeping an eye out for the symptoms of cancer? Leave your comments below...

Tips on How to Prevent Breast Cancer
Tips on How to Prevent Breast Cancer