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Senior Women's Health - Potential Cancer Warning Signs

Jan 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of Riverside and Corona

It’s normal for our bodies to change over time, especially for women. But how do we know what changes are worth being concerned about?

If you notice any of the following changes, take notice and try changing your habits to change the symptoms. If they’re persistent, they may be a potential red flag to cancer, or at least some other serious ailment:

Abnormal bleeding

By this, I mean spotting between your periods, if you’re still getting them. This isn’t a red flag for cancer, as between-cycle spotting can come from a variety of causes, but going to the doc and ruling out endometrial cancer as a cause may put you at peace of mind.

Breast changes

If you have a lump, don’t be alarmed – benign lumps are actually quite common in women of all ages. It will be important to get it checked out just in case, though.

Other changes to be concerned with are:

  • Discharge from the nipple
  • Redness or scaling around the nipple
  • Inverted nipple
  • Skin on the breast that is dimpling or puckering in

Unintended weight loss

While we may wish we could lose weight without trying to hard, it’s not a good sign to lose weight when you don’t need or want to. Specifically, losing over 10 pounds without any noticeable changes in your diet or exercise is cause for concern.

Luckily, the cause of unexplained weight loss is more often than not something other than cancer, but get it checked out just in case.

Blood in urine or stool

This is typically a sign that you are bleeding from somewhere inside your body that you shouldn’t be. The only other un-alarming cause of bloody stool would be hemorrhoids, but it could be more than that.

If the bleeding lasts for more than two days, go get it checked out.

Trouble swallowing

Sometimes when we have a sore throat or perhaps a dry mouth as we get older, trouble swallowing once in a blue moon isn’t a big deal. However, if it happens frequently, along with other side effects like losing weight or vomiting, red flags are definitely raised.

A series of tests and scans, such as an endoscopy and CT scan of the possibly affected areas, can check you out for stomach or throat cancer. If you are consistently having trouble swallowing, it’d be a good idea to get these tests done.

Heartburn

Doctors suggest adopting a healthier lifestyle (eating better and exercising more) for a few weeks to try and reduce heartburn intensity and frequency. If it doesn’t go away or gets worse, it may be a sign of some form of cancer such as of the throat, stomach, or even ovaries.

Unexplained pain

Cancer can be painful, but it doesn’t cause most of the aches we feel on a day-to-day basis. However, constantly being in pain and the continuous signaling may cause certain cancers, such as brain or bone, to begin spreading. If you’re experiencing pain or aches that last at least a month or longer, go see your doctor.

These are just some of the symptoms that, if persistent, may be warning signs. See your doctor right away if you’re experiencing any of them frequently.

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