Everyone knows to check for lumps in the breasts, but too
often symptoms closer to the surface – which can indicate inflammatory breast
cancer -- are overlooked. Some women describe noticing cellulite-like dimpled
skin on an area of the breast. Others noticed that a breast felt swollen, hot,
or irritated. Red or purplish discoloration is also cause for concern. Call
your doctor about any unexplained changes in your breasts.
One of the most common changes women remember noticing
before being diagnosed with breast cancer is a nipple that began to appear
flattened, inverted, or turned sideways. "My nipple started looking like
it was turned inside out," said one woman. In addition, inflammatory
breast cancer also causes nipple problems, such as itchy, scaly, or crusty skin
on the nipple -- so take any nipple changes seriously.
Bloating or Abdominal Weight Gain
The "my jeans don't fit" syndrome While this might
sound too common a phenomenon to be considered a cancer symptom, consider this:
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer overwhelmingly report that unexplained
abdominal bloating that came on fairly suddenly and continued on and off over a
long period of time (as opposed to occurring a few days each month with PMS)
was one of the main ways they knew something was wrong.
Feeling Full and Unable to Eat
This is another tip-off to ovarian cancer; survivors say
they had no appetite and couldn't eat, even when they hadn't eaten for some
time. Any woman who experiences noticeable bloating or weight gain numerous
times (the diagnostic criteria is more than 13 times over the period of a
month) -- especially if it's accompanied by pelvic pain or feeling overly full
-- should call her doctor and ask for a pelvic ultrasound.
Unusually Heavy or Painful Periods or Bleeding Between Periods
Many women reported this as the tip-off to endometrial or uterine
cancer. Unfortunately, many women also said their doctors weren't responsive,
overlooking or misdiagnosing their complaints as normal perimenopause. Ask for
a transvaginal ultrasound if you strongly suspect something more than routine