The body figure for women is always changing. The key is to pay the attention to your body so you can notice when something’s different appears on your body, says Mr. Robyn Andersen, Ph.D., of the Mr. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. “New symptoms indicate something has changed in your body, & you want to know what that means.” So, what should you watch for?
- Breast changes
Most breast lumps are not cancer, but your doctor should always check them. Let her know about these changes, too:
- Skin dimpling or puckering.
- Nipples that turn inward.
- Nipple discharge.
- Scaling or redness of your breast or nipple skin.
To look for the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will do a physical exam & ask you questions about your medical history. You may also have tests like a biopsy or a mammogram when doctors remove a tiny piece of tissue for testing.
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“Women are natural bloaters,” says Mr. Marleen Meyers, MD, an oncologist at the NYU Langone Medical Center (LMC). “It’s OK to wait for a week or twice to see if it goes away.”
If your symptoms don’t get better with passive of time, or if they happen with weight loss or bleeding, see a doctor. Constant bloating could be an important sign of cancer, including colon, breast, gastrointestinal, ovarian, pancreatic, or uterine. Depending on other symptoms, you will undergo the tests which could include a pelvic exam as well as blood tests, a mammogram, a colonoscopy, a CT scan or an ultrasound, to look for the cause of your problem.
3. Between-Period Bleeding
If you are still getting periods, tell your doctor if you are spotting between them. Bleeding which is not a part of your usual monthly cycle (monthly) can have many causes, but your doctor will want to rule out endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of your uterus).
4. Blood in Your Pee or Stool
Talk to your doctor if you are bleeding from a part of your body that normally doesn’t, especially if the bleeding lasts more than a day or two, Meyers says. Bloody stool is often from the hemorrhoids, but it can also be a symptom of colon cancer. Bloody urine is usually the first sign of cancer of the kidneys or bladder, says Herbert Lepore, MD, a urologist at NYU’s Langone.
5. Changes in Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands around your body. Most changes in them come from common infections. But some cancers, including lymphoma & leukemia, can also cause lymph nodes to swell &/or become tender. It’s a good idea to see the doctor if you have swelling or a lump anywhere in your body that lasts a month or more, Meyers says.
6. Weight Loss Without Trying
Most of the women wish extra pounds would magically melt away. But losing Ten (10) pounds or more without a change in your diet or exercise habits could signal a problem. Most unintended weight loss is not cancer, Mr. Meyers says. “It’s often caused by thyroid or your stress, but it can be a sign of pancreatic cancer,” she says. Other types of cancer such as colon, lungs & stomach cancers are also possible.
Your doctor may ask for a lot of tests to look for a problem, including blood tests & imaging tests, like PET or a CT Scan.
A fever that doesn’t go away & cannot be explained could mean leukemia or another blood cancer. Your doctor should get the details of your medical history & give you a physical exam to check for the cause.
Most coughs go away on their own in 3 – 4 weeks. Don’t ignore 1 that lasts longer than that, especially if you smoke or are short of breath. If you cough up blood, go to your doctor.
Cancer doesn’t cause most aches. But ongoing pain can signal brain, bone, or other cancers, especially ones which have spread. Immediately contact your doctor about any kind of unexplained aches that last a month or longer.