According to the latest statistics, the most common cancers in 2017 are projected to be breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate cancer, colon and rectum cancer, bladder cancer, melanoma of the skin, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, leukemia, endometrial cancer, and pancreatic cancer. The experts claim that breast, colon, endometrial, lung, cervical, skin and ovarian cancer are some of the cancers that most often affect women. Ladies, this means that you should be very careful and don’t ignore these warning signs:
- Breast Changes
If you feel a lump, you shouldn’t ignore it, even if your mammogram is normal! If your nipple gets scaly or starts flaking, that could indicate Paget’s disease of the nipple, which is linked to an underlying cancer in about 95% of cases. Any milky or bloody nipple discharge should also be checked out. And, one last thing – if you notice dimpling of the skin over the breast, particularly if it looks like the skin on an orange, you should see your doctor immediately.
- Irregular Bleeding
Once you hit menopause (defined as 12 months without a period), any postmenopausal bleeding is a warning sign. Any bleeding, staining, little drops on your underwear, or big clots are abnormal and should be immediately investigated.
- Rectal Bleeding
Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in women. One of the hallmarks is rectal bleeding, which many people link to hemorrhoids, the most common cause. Red or dark blood in your stool warrants a visit to your doctor.
A foul or smelly vaginal discharge could be a symptom of cervical cancer. NOTE: the discharge may contain blood and may occur between periods or after menopause. It’s best not to self-treat a discharge with over-the-counter medications.
The most common ovarian cancer symptoms: bloating, feeling that you’re getting full, earlier than you typically would when eating, changing bowel or bladder habits, such as urinating more frequently, low back or pelvic pain.
- Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss
Gaining excess weight month to month, especially if you usually maintain a normal weight and watch what you eat, can be due to a buildup of fluid in the belly related to ovarian cancer and warrants a checkup with your doctor.
- Change in Lymph Nodes
Ladies, if you feel hard lymph nodes in your neck or under your arm, you should be seen by a doctor. Swollen, firm lymph nodes are often caused by an infection. But, lymphoma or lung, breast, head, or neck cancer that has spread can also show up as an enlarged lymph node.
- Persistent Cough
Any persistent cough, which lasts more than 2 or 3 weeks and is not due to an allergy or upper respiratory infection, or one that produces blood, needs to be checked by your doctor. If your cough may be caused by smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke, get it checked out, because smoking is the number one cancer killer of women.
Leukemia, colon, or stomach cancer, can cause blood loss, which can result in fatigue. Fatigue can be a serious problem and it’s easy to ignore.
- Skin Changes
Sores in the mouth that don’t heal — especially if you smoke or drink alcohol — may be signs of oral cancer and should be checked by your doctor!
- Mouth Changes
This is very important for you to understand – if you smoke, watch for white or bright-red patches inside your mouth or on your lips. Both can signal oral cancer.
A fever that doesn’t go away and can’t be explained could mean leukemia or another blood cancer.