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10 Cancer Symptoms Women Should Be Aware Of: MD Anderson Center

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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

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.

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Dear Anonymous Thank you for sharing information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Knowledge is empowerment. Best Regards, Mamta February 10, 2012 - 11:44am
EmpowHER Guest

This is an excellent article because many times doctors dismiss common, undifferentiated symptoms as trivial or all in the patient's head.

The suggestion that extreme fatigue persisting for at least a month could be chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, (ME/CFS) is a good one. To be even more precise in order to be diagnosed with ME/CFS the patient must have post exertional exhaustion lasting 24 hours or more and unrelieved by rest. ME/CFS patients need not run a marathon for this specific form of fatigue. Doing the dishes or walking the dog can bring it on.

ME/CFS is far more than just post exertional exhaustion unrelieved by rest. It must be part of a specific pattern that includes substantial memory and concentration problems as well. Other parts of the necessary pattern of symptoms may include muscle aches, sore throat, swollen lymph glands, headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity and unrefreshing sleep.

Cancer if caught soon enough can be treated and possibly cured. There is no cure for ME/CFS and no treatments that work for all patients.

February 10, 2012 - 7:06am
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