Surprising Signals for GYN Cancer Watch

Symptoms of gynecologic cancer can be similar to those for other health conditions making things a bit confusing. Here are six symptoms that could indicate a cancer concern. Having one or more of these symptoms does not mean you do have cancer, but you should see your doctor just to be safe.

1. Abdominal Bloating

It’s not uncommon for women to experience bloating. You might have it as part of PMS, when eating gas producing foods, or after overindulging. But if you have consistent or chronic bloating that you can’t trace to one of those, you need to talk to your doctor. It can be a sign of ovarian or uterine cancer.

2. Chronic Fatigue

A busy life can leave you feeling tired as you rush from one task to another, but you should feel better with a bit of rest and downtime. If your exhaustion is persistent, interferes with your daily life, and is not alleviated by some sleep, talk to your doctor. The cause of your fatigue could be gynecologic cancer or another health issue that needs treatment.

3. Change in Bathroom Habits

Urination frequency and urgency shouldn’t happen without a cause. You also shouldn’t have unexplained diarrhea or constipation. If you find you are suddenly racing and spending more time in the bathroom, you need to have a chat with your doctor. These changes can indicate vaginal, vulvar, or ovarian cancer.

4. Pain

While you know pain means something is wrong, you may not realize it could be signaling a cancer concern. Persistent back, pelvic, and abdominal pain need to be investigated by your doctor to determine the cause. It could be uterine, ovarian, or several other cancers.

5. Vaginal and Vulvar Changes

Changes in the vagina or vulva, including discoloration, itching, burning, rash, sores, or discharge, can indicate a cancer concern. If you notice anything different with your vagina or vulva, schedule an appointment with your doctor for an exam and testing. You may be dealing with vaginal, vulvar, or cervical cancer.

6. Vaginal Bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be a sign of cancer, especially if it occurs years after a hysterectomy or during menopause. Any vaginal bleeding that is abnormal for you should be discussed with your doctor, no matter your age or hysterectomy state. It can be a sign of almost all gynecologic cancers. If you experience any bleeding during menopause or once you have healed from your hysterectomy, you need to see your doctor immediately. Postmenopausal bleeding can indicate endometrial cancer, while vaginal bleeding after a hysterectomy can indicate vaginal cancer or cancer recurrence.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, discuss them with your doctor. Based on your symptoms and your personal and family medical histories, your doctor can determine which exams and tests to order to help determine if there is a cancer concern or other health issue. Finding cancer early gives you a better prognosis, and makes it easier to treat.

This content was written by staff of by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support. Reprinted with permission: Surprising Signals for GYN Cancer Watch


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