In some ways, cancer testing has never been more sophisticated, and cancer awareness is at an all-time high. In other words, it’s still primitive: there is still no routine screening for ovarian cancer, the deadliest of women’s cancers. That is why it is so important to take care of your health and be careful regardless of any changes.
“Cancer screening is very effective, but it’s also helpful for patients to feel connected to their bodies and their symptoms,” says Taylor Graber, M.D., an anesthesiologist at the University of California-San Diego and owner of ASAP IV. “Patients know themselves best, and if they have new or alarming symptoms, it’s hard to know without a doctor telling them.” Eat this, not that! Health professionals were asked what signs of cancer they should always be on the lookout for. Read on to learn more about protecting your own health and the health of others. Don’t miss these surefire signs that you may already have COVID.
1 Unusual bleeding
“Vaginal bleeding or rectal bleeding is something that women sometimes ignore,” says Soma Mandal, a women’s health specialist at Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. “It is often a signal of an alarming process, such as uterine or colon cancer. These symptoms are often frightening, and women do not want to admit that they need additional tests.”
Rx: “It’s best to let your doctor know if you’re bleeding from a place you wouldn’t normally be,” Graber says. “I recommend getting an annual checkup and building a relationship with your internist and gynecologist,” says Mandal. “Do all your age-appropriate screenings and ask your doctor for a thorough family history.”
2 Constant fatigue
Dr. West Hollywood, California. “If you feel general fatigue no matter how much sleep, rest or caffeine you’ve had, it could be a sign of cancer,” says Jill Stocker. You will lose motivation and feel sleepy several times a day.
Rx: Have a routine check-up with your GP and screening tests according to current health guidelines, including Pap smears, mammograms, colonoscopies and bone density tests.
3 Stomach bloating
Abdominal bloating, pain, and pressure below the ribs for more than 2 weeks are symptoms of ovarian cancer, says Shieva Ghofrani, MD, a gynecologist in Stamford, Connecticut.
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4 Sudden weight gain
“Unexpected weight gain and changes in bowel habits can be subtle signs of ovarian cancer,” says Kamelah Phillips, M.D., a New York City gynecologist. “Symptoms of ovarian cancer can be very vague. Women can easily miss changes in bowel patterns or weight gain associated with menopause, aging or diet.”
Rx: “Regardless of your family history, see your doctor if these symptoms persist for several weeks,” says Phillips.
5 Sudden weight loss
“In the eternal quest to lose weight, this symptom can be considered more of a blessing than a warning sign,” says Pierre Peterson, MD, a dermatologist in Thousand Oaks, California. “However, it can be particularly problematic when there is a loss of appetite or changes in bowel habits. A number of cancers, including esophageal, liver, colon, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma, can present this way.”
Rx: “It’s important to let your doctor know about these changes as soon as possible to improve quality of life, treatment options, and survival,” says Pierre.