Cancer Symptoms Women Need to Know

The Signs That Can Indicate Something More

Many types of gynecologic cancers produce symptoms early enough for them to be successfully treated. But when the symptoms are ignored, the delay in treatment can prove to be fatal. Which is why women need to be vigilant about any symptoms they're experiencing. Ladies, listen to your bodies! If you are experiencing something abnormal for you, see your doctor. Chances are the symptoms aren't cancer-related, but it's better to be safe.

Pelvic Pain

Woman in pain
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Pelvic pain is characterized by pain or pressure below the navel that is persistent and that isn't limited to premenstrual syndrome. Pelvic pain is associated with endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and vaginal cancer.

Abdominal Swelling and Bloating

Abdominal swelling and bloating are one of the more common symptoms of ovarian cancer. It is also the symptom that is most often ignored. When should you be concerned? If the bloating is so bad you can't button your pants, or even have to go up a size, it may be worth talking to your doctor.

Persistent Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain often feels like a dull ache. Yet some women also describe it as feeling similar to labor pains. Lower back pain may be a symptom of ovarian cancer.

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is the most common symptom experienced by women when they have gynecologic cancer. Heavy periods, bleeding between periods, and bleeding during and after sex are all considered abnormal vaginal bleeding. These symptoms are linked to cervical cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Persistent Fever

If a fever does not go away, lasting for more than seven days on and off, it should be reported to your doctor. A stubborn fever is often a symptom of cancer, but keep in mind that a fever may also be a symptom of many other benign conditions.

Persistent Stomach Upset or Bowel Changes

If you experience constipation, diarrhea, blood in the stool, gas, thinner stools, or just a general change in your bowel habits, see your doctor. These changes may be due to symptoms of gynecological cancer and colon cancer.

Unintentional Weight Loss

Losing 10 or more pounds without trying may be a nice surprise, but it isn't quite normal. Although a woman's weight may fluctuate throughout the month, any weight loss of 10 pounds or more should be reported to your doctor.

Vulva or Vaginal Abnormalities

With vulvar or vaginal abnormalities, you should be aware of any sores, blisters, changes in skin color, and discharge. You should exam your vulva and vagina regularly to look for these abnormalities.

Changes in the Breast

During your monthly breast self-exam, you should look for lumps, tenderness, soreness, nipple discharge, dimpling, redness, or swelling. Report any changes to your doctor as soon as possible.


Fatigue is one of the most commonly experienced cancer symptoms. It is usually more common when cancer has advanced, but can still occur in the early stages. Any type of fatigue that prevents you from doing normal daily activities needs to be evaluated by a doctor.

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