10 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore — They Might Signal Gynecologic (GYN) Cancer
As you age, you may start to wonder if gynecologic cancer might become a part of your future. You may know more and more women who’ve been diagnosed with one type or another, and perhaps it has you a bit anxious. If you only knew what to watch for, maybe then you could be proactive about it.
Here’s just what you need: A list of symptoms which might be a sign of gynecologic cancer. You shouldn’t panic if you have any of them – many are common enough and occur for a number of benign reasons. But you also shouldn’t ignore any of them either. Individually or combined, they may indicate some concern for a possible gynecologic cancer diagnosis.
1. Abnormal Bleeding
Bleeding other than during your period is not normal. While there are a number of benign reasons for abnormal uterine bleeding, it can also be a sign of gynecologic cancer. Report any non-menstrual bleeding to your doctor, especially if you are menopausal.
2. Vaginal Discharge
There are a number of reasons for vaginal discharge, many of them benign. For example, clear or white discharge that’s odorless. But again, vaginal discharge can also be a sign of gynecologic cancer. This is especially true for discharge that’s darker in color and is accompanied by an odor. Report any discharge to your doctor, especially if it is also accompanied by an odor or fever.
3. Bathroom Concerns
Frequent urination or a noticeable change in bowel habits can be a red flag. You might have a urinary tract infection (UTI), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), issues related to menopause changes, or something else. But it could also be a sign of ovarian cancer.
4. Abdominal, Pelvic, or Lower Back Pain
Your might experience abdominal, lower back, or pelvic pain during your period. But if this pain persists or occurs outside your period, it may be a sign of cancer. Report these symptoms to your doctor, especially if they are accompanied by abdominal or pelvic pressure, gas, indigestion, or cramps.
5. Abdominal Bloating
As a woman, you’ve probably experienced bloating a time or two. It can be par the course for PMS and after overeating. Bloating outside PMS, however, is not normal. It can be related to bladder and bowel issues, but it can also be a sign of ovarian cancer. Persistent bloating outside of a normal cycle should be reported to your doctor.
6. Appetite and Weight Issues
If you either lose your appetite or feel full all the time, it may be a sign of cancer. Similarly, unexplained weight loss can also be a sign of cancer. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.
7. Nausea and Indigestion
With menopause can come some nausea and indigestion. But extensive nausea and indigestion may be a sign of gynecologic cancer. If you experience either, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
8. A Swollen Leg
It might seem odd, but having swelling in one of our legs may be a sign of cervical cancer. Report any swelling of one or both legs to your physician.
9. Genitalia Skin Changes
Skin changes involving any part of your genitalia may be a sign of vulvar cancer. Talk to your doctor if you see any rough patches, sores, bumps, or lumps. Darkening skin in that area can also be a warning sign.
10. Chronic Fatigue
Life can leave you tired, especially if you’ve reached menopause. But chronic fatigue is also a symptom of cancer. If you have persistent fatigue that prevents you from engaging in routine activities, talk to your doctor.
To be on the safe side, report any changes you experience to your doctor. They may be a sign of a health condition which caught early could be treated more successfully. And if it’s cancer, the sooner it’s found, the better.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission:10 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore — They Might Signal Gynecologic (GYN) Cancer