Let’s face it – women lead busy lives, often juggling full-time work with the demands of taking care of a home and family. And oftentimes, they feel like they are too busy to take care of themselves or to take time out from a hectic schedule to go to the doctor if they suspect that something might be wrong. However, each women owes it to herself to do just that and to also pay attention to small signs that may go unnoticed, like some of those discussed below that could indicate early stages of cancer.
This is a symptom which is often overlooked, largely because it can be contributed to many other underlying issues, including stress, certain medications or other disease processes. However, if you notice that you are pushing your plate away a lot lately – or are eating constantly and still feeling hungry – it is probably good to talk to your doctor about this, as it might be a sign that something is amiss and is an early warning of both pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath with the cold or flu or respiratory infections is one thing, but if you notice that you are having trouble breathing even in absence of these conditions, especially if it only with a small amount of exertion, you should definitely talk to your doctor. This could be an early sign of lung cancer, but could also signal the development of COPD or asthma, which will also need to be treated medically.
Most women would be glad to hear about this one, but weight loss that occurs when you are not trying for it and have made no changes in your diet, medications or eating habits is not usually good news. Unexplained weight loss should definitely be discussed with your doctor, because it too is an early warning sign of cancer, particularly cancer of the lungs, stomach and pancreas.
Bloating and Abdominal Pain
Feeling bloated during your period or abdominal pain or discomfort after a heavy meal is pretty normal. However, if these symptoms occur with no reasonable explanations like these, or if they persist for more than two weeks and you are not finding relief with traditional treatments, then you should also talk to your doctor about this concern. These symptoms could indicate the development of ovarian cancer.
Painful intercourse often happens to women as they experience menopause, due to hormone changes that cause thinning and dryness of the vaginal wall. However, if you are not menopausal and are still noticing that sex has become uncomfortable (especially if this is a new symptom), it is definitely a good time to talk to your doctor, as this could indicate infection or, more seriously, be an early warning sign of cervical cancer.
The tricky thing about the symptoms listed above is that they can frequently be attributable to other causes besides cancer. However, if any of them sound like a problem, it is better to go in to see your doctor and let him or her know what is going on, as there are other diseases besides cancer that these symptoms could be part of, diseases that also require treatment.
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