When it comes to gynaecological cancers such as ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers, symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain and abnormal vaginal discharge with traces of blood are the most talked about.
However, there are other symptoms in gynaecological cancers which are not taken seriously enough to seek an appointment with the doctor and which could lead to fatalities. (1)
The reason why some symptoms, though persistent, are ignored is because they are vague, overlap with other health conditions and could be dismissed as episodic and transient.
Here’s a list released by the country’s leading cancer care centre, MD Anderson, on what women should be wary of if the symptoms persist beyond a couple of weeks:
1. Unexplained weight loss: This is a cause for alarm especially if the woman loses more than 10 pounds in a few weeks without any increase in physical activity/exertion, undertaking a strenuous exercise regime or undergoing a diet to which the weight loss may be tracked back to.
2. Swollen leg: If the legs are frequently swollen accompanied by abnormal vaginal discharge and vaginal pain, it could be a sign of cervical cancer developing in the body.
3. Consistent fatigue: Though fatigue that does not wear off could also point to chronic fatigue syndrome, the starting of this symptom without any prior history of it should tell you to get yourself examined.
4. Frequent visits to the toilet: If a woman has a frequent need to visit the bathroom due to bladder pressure, and this is accompanied by abdominal bloating, nausea abdominal pain and feeling full, then this may be a sign of cancer.
5. Bloating: Women tend to retain fluid just before and during periods that can cause a mildly bloated look especially in the abdomen region. However, if the belly looks and feels bloated beyond this time - i.e., after the periods are over, then it would be wise to see a doctor.
6. Feeling full: This is a common symptom in cases of ovarian cancer. The person may either lose appetite or may feel full too soon after starting their meal or may eat too little. Such symptoms would continue for a few weeks without subsiding.