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What are the symptoms of cancer in women that we need to be vigilant about, and why is that important? Because early detection can really make a difference.
When you look at Manisha Koirala, Sonali Bendre, Tahira Kashyap we just knew them as regular celebrities. Only recently when each of them shared their cancer stories, did we realize how strong and brave these women are.
Manisha Koirala who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer has bounced back from it completely healed. Her book Healed is out now, where she shares her experience about the deadly disease. Sonali Bendre shared a video of chopping off her hair when she was battling cancer, and the sunshine in her face and smile is proof of her inner strength. Tahira Kashyap too recently shared her struggle with cancer, and her husband, Ayushmann Khurrana put up an endearing post about them as a couple on Instagram.
There are many more inspirations around us that can empower us to face cancer and not get bogged down by it. #IAmIWill
Every phase in a woman’s life is filled with challenges. In fact, they increase with each decade. Emotionally and most important physically. But let’s not ignore some important signals. While some might be regular signals of ageing, some could be symptoms of cancer in women. It’s important to empower ourselves with information and take the right measures then.
As much as we would want to defeat cancer, unfortunately it has become a reality. But if we know the symptoms of cancer in women and catch cancer early, we may be able to avoid further complications.
Early detection of symptoms of cancer in women and doing tests like screening and biopsy is extremely crucial, as some of the most unassuming symptoms could actually be warning signs. The point is to constantly be alert and never ignore the signs our bodies give us.
Currently, on an average one in six women is detected with cancer, and not being aware of the symptoms of cancer in women, many get aware only in later stages.
4th February is World Cancer Day, to create awareness about cancer, and the symptoms of cancer. There will be seminars, walks, and other campaigns to raise awareness, educating of people to fight cancer through early screening for symptoms of cancer, healthy eating and physical activity, quitting smoking and tobacco, and urging public officials to make cancer a priority worldwide.
This year the Union of International Cancer Control is organising a 3-year campaign with the theme “I Am and I Will”. This campaign is spread over multiple years to fulfill the goals that have been set out. Mainly, it calls for a personal commitment to remove the burden of Cancer globally.
Here is a list of 10 major symptoms of cancer in women that we can be vigilant about.
Just a word of caution, though. Having one or more of these symptoms might not necessarily mean it is cancer. The symptom is to be taken along with all other signs and symptoms and medical tests, and only a doctor should make a diagnosis. It won’t help to become paranoid about these symptoms, as not every case is cancer.
Most lumps in breasts aren’t cancer. But you need to be careful if along with lumps if you notice
These could be symptoms of breast cancer, which is the most common cancer affecting women. It is advised to do a self-test to keep checking for any unusual lumps in breasts, and it is important to get a mammogram done regularly after 40.
If there is bleeding between periods, during sex, and especially after menopause, it could be a warning sign of cervical cancer, needing further tests like ultrasound, blood tests, and pelvic examination. The possible cancers could be cervical, endometrial, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
Weight could change over the course of life for various reasons. Mostly with age, change in diet, pregnancy, slowing or increase in metabolism, etc. But a sudden, dramatic change in weight like losing 10 pounds without changing diet, any other illness, or without exercise, is abnormal. See a doctor immediately, as it could be a cancer symptom.
Vaginal discharge is also quite normal with some phases, especially during menopause or hormonal changes. But if there is a constant discharge from the vagina that is smelly or coloured with blood, you need to see a doctor. An infection could cause this, but it could also be symptoms of cancer in women, like endometrial or cervical cancer.
In most cases fatigue can be cured by rest and you are back in action. But if the fatigue persists, it can be a worrisome factor and needs to be reported to the doctor.
Fatigue not relieved by rest is a very common symptom of cancer, and is usually more common when the cancer is advanced. If it hinders your daily activities and also leisure, you need to see a doctor immediately.
If edema or fluid retention is ruled out, and the leg is swollen without any reason along with pain and vaginal discharge, it could be one of the symptoms of cervical cancer.
Appetite changes, with constant nausea, irritation in stomach, constipation or diarrhoea could be a warning sign. Not feeling hungry at all, or any unusual changes in appetite could be signs of ovarian cancer.
Any pain in the abdominal area caused by indigestion, gas, bloating, or cramps should be investigated if it persists beyond a the usual few days of an ordinary gastrointestinal upset, as it could be symptoms of ovarian cancer.
Also, constant pain in the pelvic area could be the warning sign of endometrial cancer.
Bloating is a very normal symptom that happens with overeating, drinking, lack of sleep, or increased blood pressure levels. There may be several ordinary reasons, but persistent bloating is not normal, and it is imperative to see a doctor immediately. Bloating around periods is also normal, but if it lasts more than 2 weeks even after the periods ends, it may be a symptom of ovarian cancer.
If there are moles or spots that are unusual, it could be a sign of skin cancer. If the mole keeps changing in size or shape, or there new spots every few days, you need to see a doctor. A thorough biopsy would be needed to get to the root and detect skin cancer early.
As mentioned earlier, it important to note that these symptoms, as they may be symptoms of cancer, but this can be confirmed only with an assessment and diagnosis from a doctor.
Cancer is a dangerous ailment, but it’s not the end of the world. Many women around the world have successfully combated cancer, and have emerged stronger. With early detection and awareness about these common symptoms of cancer, we can curb it at an early stage and not let it break us. There are many people around who inspire us, that can empower us to face cancer and not get bogged down by it. #IAmIWill.
Images source: Instagram & By Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0, Link
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Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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If you want to get back to work after a break, here’s the ultimate guide to return to work programs in India from tech, finance or health sectors - for women just like you!
Last week, I was having a conversation with a friend related to personal financial planning and she shared how she had had fleeting thoughts about joining work but she was apprehensive to take the plunge. She was unaware of return to work programs available in India.
She had taken a 3-year long career break due to child care and the disconnect from the job arena that she spoke about is something several women in the same situation will relate to.
More often than not, women take a break from their careers to devote time to their kids because we still do not have a strong eco-system in place that can support new mothers, even though things are gradually changing on this front.
A married woman has to wear a sari, sindoor, mangalsutra, bangles, anklets, and so much more. What do these ornaments have to do with my love, respect, and commitment to my husband?
They: Are you married?
They: But You don’t look like it
Me: (in my Mind) Why should I?
Why is being married not enough for a woman, and she needs to look married too? I am tired of such comments in the nearly four years of being married.
I believe that anything that is forced is not right. I must have a choice. I am a living human, not a puppet. And I am not stopping anyone by not following any tradition. You are free to do whatever you like to do. But do not force others. It’s depressing.