Signs of Cancer that Women Ignore


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — In the U.S., one in every three women will develop some type of cancer during her lifetime. Spotting the signs early on can save lives, but there are some that women tend to ignore. Ivanhoe reports on symptoms you shouldn’t dismiss.

About 8.5 million women around the world develop cancer each year. Do you know the signs to look out for?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. You should never ignore color or texture changes in the skin around your breast, or nipple. Itching, burning, or pain can also be red flags. And, if you feel a lump, get checked out!

“We also recommend women to have a physician breast exam beginning or the end around age 25 on an annual basis,” recommended Thomas Samuel, MD, an oncologist at Cleveland Clinic Florida.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is another symptom to take seriously. More than 90 percent of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer experience this problem. Bloating, indigestion, and pelvic pressure can be signs of ovarian or uterine cancer. Also, don’t ignore chronic coughing. It could signal lung cancer which is the leading cause of cancer death in women. Unexplained weight loss, loss of appetite, and chronic fatigue are also symptoms of various types of cancer. And never ignore skin changes, especially if a mole changes in size, shape, or color. Rates of melanoma skin cancer have been increasing, especially in younger women.

“We have to stress regular checkups, we have to stress routine screening, we have to stress to trust the medical system,” stated Brian Slomovitz, MD, a gynecological oncologist with Broward Health.

Blood in the stool and a change in bowel habits, such as persistent diarrhea or constipation, are other symptoms to take seriously. They could be indicators of colorectal cancer.

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and, Roque Correa, Editor.

REPORT #2853

BACKGROUND: The National Cancer Institute estimates one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer and one in two men will receive a cancer diagnosis during their lifetime. Interestingly, women tend to survive the disease more often than men. Studies have found that many of the lifestyle-related risk factors for cancer, such as smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and eating fatty foods, have traditionally been more prevalent among men. Some cancers only affect women because they develop in a woman’s reproductive system, which includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix, vagina and vulva. Although breast cancer is not a disease that only affects women, it is the most common cancer, after skin cancer, affecting women in the United States. The cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men.


CANCER AND WOMEN: Some cancers that most often affect women are breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin, and ovarian cancers. Knowing about these cancers and what to do to help prevent them or find them early can help save your life. Preventions like getting regular screening tests to find breast cancer early is the most reliable way; regular colorectal cancer screening to find polyps, a small growth on the lining of the colon or rectum; at menopause, women should report any unusual discharge, spotting, or vaginal bleeding as a sign of endometrial cancer; avoid smoking and use condoms to protect yourself from HPV which can lead to cervical cancer; limit exposure to the sun and other sources like tanning beds; and see a doctor if experiencing abdominal swelling or pelvic pain, digestive problems or feeling like you need to urinate all the time. Other ways to help prevent the risk of cancer is to stay at a healthy weight, get regular physical activity, and know your family history.


NEW STUDY FOR BREAST CANCER RISK: A new multi-institution study led by Fergus Couch, PhD, a Mayo Clinic pathologist, provides more accurate estimates of breast cancer risk for women in the U.S. who harbor inherited mutations in breast cancer predisposition genes. The findings of the CARRIERS Consortium study were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and will allow health care providers to better assess the risk of breast cancer in women, many of whom have no family history of breast cancer, and provide more appropriate risk management strategies. “Traditionally, genetic testing of inherited breast cancer genes has focused on women at high risk who have a strong family history of breast cancer or those who were diagnosed at an early age, such as under 45 years,” says Dr. Couch. Current estimates of breast cancer risk provided to women when they are found to have a breast cancer mutation are actually appropriate only for those who are at high risk and not for women from the general population.


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Fara-Ann Arca

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