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Should I get checked for cancer?

Cancer can affect various tissues in the body, causing a range of signs and symptoms, such as weight loss, fatigue, skin changes, and a persistent cough. Anyone who experiences persistent or worrisome symptoms should consult a doctor.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)cancer was the second leading cause of death in the United States in 2016.

Healthcare providers can run diagnostic tests that identify early-stage cancers. Treatment has a better chance of success when a person receives their cancer diagnosis early.

In this article, we discuss general warning signs of cancer unique to women, men, and cancer type.

Warning signs of cancer in women

Cancers specific to or more common among women include endometrial, cervical, and breast cancers. Warning signs include:

Breast changes

Warning signs of breast cancer

Breast cancer can cause visible changes in the breast tissue.

Breast cancer often causes visible changes in the breast tissue, so it is crucial for women to be familiar with the shape, size, and texture of their breasts.

Breast changes to look out for include:

  • dimpling or puckering of the breast skin or nipple
  • nipple discharge
  • redness, swelling, or tenderness of the breast skin or nipple
  • changes in the size or shape of the breast

Women should speak with a healthcare provider if they notice any changes in their breast tissue. The American Cancer Society recommend that women aged 40 years and older have regular mammograms to screen for signs of breast cancer.

Vaginal bleeding between periods

Women who experience regular periods may want to consult their healthcare provider if they experience vaginal bleeding or spotting outside of their usual cycle. Irregular vaginal bleeding may indicate endometrial or cervical cancers.

Women who have gone through menopause should seek immediate medical attention if they have any vaginal bleeding.

Spotting does not always occur as a result of cancer. Hormonal birth control, chronic medical conditions, and stress can also cause spotting.

Women should consider seeking immediate medical attention if they experience spotting alongside the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • heavy bleeding
  • dimpling or puckering of the breast skin or nipple
  • nipple discharge
  • redness, swelling, or tenderness of the breast skin or nipple
  • changes in the size or shape of the breast