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Cancer Symptoms You Are Most Likely to Ignore

Symptoms Women Are Likely to Ignore

Red, Sore, or Swollen Breast

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.

Nipple Changes

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 heavy periods.

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