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Women and cancer: When in doubt check it out

It cannot be stressed enough how important breast cancer screening is for women. In Quebec we have had cases of mammogram readings that were erroneous leaving women thinking that they did not have breast cancer when they did. Unfortunately, the cancer was detected it was too late for some of these women.

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As a woman it is important that you go for your routine checkup and make sure that the doctor examines your breast for lumps. If you do have a lump do not accept that it is nothing if your doctor should say that, insist on cancer screening. It could mean the difference between life and death.

The same holds true for other forms of cancer as well. Do not put off getting your regular pap smear. Sometimes women don’t always have symptoms when the cancer is in its infancy and beyond.

Warning signs for possible breast cancer

lumps in the breast

nipple discharge

“Dimpling of the skin over the breast, particularly if it looks like the skin on an orange, "is something to be worried about," Karlan says. Such dimpling is most often linked to inflammatory breast cancer, a rare, usually aggressive cancer characterized also by swollen, hot, red breasts.”

Sign of other forms of cancer

Vaginal bleeding

If you have been experiencing Irregular vaginal bleeding if you are postmenopausal. Even stains and drops are not normal and could be a symptom of endometriosis or cervical cancer.

Rectal bleeding

Though rectal bleeding can be from hemorrhoids it might be colon cancer which is the third most common cancers in women.

Smelly discharge

Foul smelling discharge can be a symptom of cervical cancer.


Ovarian cancer is known as the silent killer because of the absence of alarming symptoms. It is also the most common reproductive cancer in women.

Other symptoms for ovarian cancer can be feeling full after eating less than you normally do, urinating more frequently, lower back or pelvic pain.

As you can clearly see this symptoms do not appear that alarming and actually may be caused by something entirely different but it is best to have it checked out.

Weight gain and weight loss

If you are not dieting and your eating habits have not changed, unexpected weight loss can be related to pancreatic, stomach, esophagus, or lung cancer. Gaining weight on a monthly basis could be a sign of ovarian cancer.

Persistent cough

A persistent cough can be many things such as an infection, it can also be caused by smoking or inhaling secondhand smoke, therefore these symptoms can be linked to lung cancer.

Lymph nodes

We already know that swollen lymph nodes in the breast could be an indicator of breast cancer, however lymph nodes in the head, neck and breast can be an indication that the head, neck, and breast cancer has already spread.


Unusual fatigue which is remedied by a good night’s sleep can be a symptom of many disorders. It should not be overlooked and a visit to the doctor is recommended. Unusual fatigue could be linked to stomach cancer, colon cancer, or leukemia.

Skin changes

Sores in the mouth that don’t heal could be a sign of oral cancer. Moles can be melanoma and a sore in the vagina that does not heal can be a sign of vulvar cancer.

The bottom line is that not every difference happening in your body will be a result of cancer; but, being vigilant about the changes in your body and following up with a doctor may save your life.

Early diagnosis has beaten cancer and saved the lives of many women. Make sure you do not delay and see your doctor immediately if you have a gut feeling or a sign that something may be wrong.

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