Cancer awareness is at an all-time high, and cancer testing hasn’t really been this advanced. Other aspects of it remain archaic, such as the absence of a routine test for ovarian cancer screening, the deadliest gynecologic malignancy. Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to your health and be aware of any changes, no matter how small.

Patients know themselves best, and if there is a symptom which is new or alarming, it’s difficult for a doctor to know without being told. While cancer tests are very effective, it’s also helpful for patients to be in touch with their own body and their own symptoms, says Taylor Graber, MD, anesthesiologist at the University of California-San Diego and owner of ASAP IVs.

Unusual Bleeding

According to Soma Mandal, MD, a women’s health expert at Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, “Vaginal hemorrhage or rectal bleeding are sometimes disregarded by women.” These indicators may sometimes be frightful, and women may not want to accept that they require more testing. “This can often suggest a dangerous condition such as uterine or colon cancer.”

The prescription, according to Graber, is to let your doctor know if bleeding is appearing in an unusual location. According to Mandal, “I advise yearly examinations and developing a connection with your internist and GYN.” Give your doctor a comprehensive family history and be sure to complete all of your age-appropriate screenings.

Constant Fatigue

According to Dr. Jill Stocker, DO, a doctor in West Hollywood, California, “If you feel overall weariness, no matter how much sleep, rest, or coffee you have, it might be a symptom of cancer. You may sense a loss of motivation and find yourself sleeping many times a day.

The prescription: Make frequent appointments with your general practitioner and make sure you have screening exams as recommended by your doctor, including pap smear, mammography, colonoscopy, and bone density checks.

Bloating

According to Shieva Ghofrany, MD, an OB-GYN in Stamford, Connecticut, bloating, discomfort, or pressure from the pubic bone down below the ribcage that lasts longer than two weeks are warning symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Unexpected Weight Gain

“Signs of ovarian cancer might be extremely ambiguous, but they can include unintentional weight gain and a change in your bowel habits,” explains Kameelah Phillips, MD, an OB-GYN in New York City. By attributing weight gain and altered bowel habits to menopause, age, or food, women might easily ignore and reject them.

The prescription, according to Phillips, is to consult a doctor if the symptoms last for a few weeks regardless of your family history.

Unexpected Weight Loss

“But this can be a concern, especially if accompanied with lack of appetite or changes in bowel habits,” explains Peterson Pierre, MD, a dermatologist in Thousand Oaks, California. “In the endless drive to lose weight, this symptom may be perceived as a blessing rather than a possible warning flag. Numerous malignancies, such as leukemia or lymphoma, as well as tumors of the esophagus, liver, colon, and pancreas, can manifest in this fashion.

The prescription: “To improve your quality of life, treatment alternatives, and survival, it’s crucial to disclose these changes to your doctor as soon as possible,” advises Pierre.

Skin Changes

Skin cancer may be indicated by any alterations to freckles or moles, as well as by the development of new moles. Regular self-examinations and communication with your board-certified dermatologist about any changes might result in early identification and perhaps save your life, according to Pierre.

The remedy, advises Pierre, is to keep in mind the acronym ABCDE while evaluating modifications. If you see any of the following, make an appointment with a doctor right away: “A represents for asymmetry; B is for border changes; C is for color changes; D is for diameter changes, increase in size; and E is for elevation, vertical growth or evolution, a growth that has altered through time.”

Skin Changes in Hard-To-See Areas

How many women (and men) examine the skin behind their ears, on their feet, on their back, or on the top of their heads? Those regions are commonly overlooked and are also at risk for skin cancer, according to Alain Michon, MD, medical director at Ottawa Skin Clinic in Ontario, Canada. Another indication that is frequently overlooked is vertical black streaks in the nail. It can be an indication of the nail bed malignancy subungual melanoma. ”

The prescription: “Make sure to examine your complete body once a year for new or atypical changes or skin lesions. If they emerge, visit with your general practitioner for a medical evaluation and skin biopsy if considered essential,” advises Michon.

A Lingering Pimple

Skin malignancies on the head and neck can occasionally resemble a pimple or blemish “says dermatologist Jeffrey Fromowitz, MD, of Boca Raton, Florida.

The cure, according to Fromowitz, is to “always keep an eye out for new growths.” “Call your dermatologist to get it looked out if something is new or altering and continues for more than two weeks.

Hoarseness

According to Inna Husain, MD, department director of laryngology at Rush University Medical Center, hoarseness, also known as dysphonia, can be an indication of vocal cord cancer. “Often the dysphonia is ascribed to laryngitis or voice usage, but it might be the first sign of cancer,” she adds.

A White or Red Patch In The Mouth

According to Sharona Dayan, MD, a board-certified periodontist and owner of Aurora Periodontontal Care in Beverly Hills, California, “a white or red patch that won’t go away—it may be on the tongue, palate, gums, inner cheek, or lip—may be a sign of oral cancer if it persists for more than three weeks.

Irregular Periods

According to Stocker, menstrual irregularities, such as regular periods that switch from spotting to regular flow a few days between periods, having only spotting for a period, having excessively heavy periods, using more feminine products than usual, bleeding after sex, or having a period or spotting years after having stopped your period, can all be signs of cancer.

Chronic Pelvic Pain

“Any new symptoms that occur on a frequent or repetitive basis need to be evaluated,” advises Sharyn Lewin, MD, a gynecologic oncologist and founder of The Lewin Fund to Fight Women’s Cancers. “If women have any repetitive bloating or any abnormal pelvic pain—like feeling full too quickly or difficulty urinating—they should have it checked out.”

Loss Of Appetite

Is this the first time you’ve seen your mother’s hot, freshly prepared crepes without wanting to drool? According to Lewin, a sudden lack of appetite may be an indication of cancer.

Being Overweight

Lewin: “According to the CDC, approximately 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the U.S. trace back to obesity being the cause. Studies reveal that 13 distinct forms of malignancies are associated with being overweight.

A New Type of Headache

Many of us occasionally have daily, weekly, or monthly headaches. Even if it’s a slight headache, it’s worth getting investigated if you experience a new headache that you haven’t had before, says Graber. A brain tumor can raise pressure in the brain or interfere with the absorption and distribution of cerebrospinal fluid, which can cause headaches.

Nausea and Vomiting

However, occasionally chronic nausea and vomiting can be caused by a slow-growing brain tumour, and it would be helpful to be evaluated by a doctor, adds Graber. Most frequently, nausea is of little to no concern since it is a complication of viral gastroenteritis or another transient sickness.

Night Sweats

Women frequently ascribe these symptoms to menopause or perimenopause, but nightly sweats can also be a sign of other cancers, including lymphoma, according to Shikha Jain, MD, FACP, an assistant professor of medicine at Rush University Cancer Center.

Chronic Pain

Women are more likely to ignore chronic pain than males, largely because they prioritize other people’s needs before their own, according to Mandal.

Shortness of Breath

According to Perth, Australia-based cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Nikki Stamp, FRACS, lung cancer is the primary reason for cancer-related deaths in women. “Because women are more likely than males to not smoke, both patients and medical professionals might not instantly think about lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma, the most prevalent subtype of lung cancer in women, frequently manifests as tiredness, weight loss, or shortness of breath.

Bleeding After Intercourse

According to Phillips, bleeding after sex is occasionally an indication of a more serious issue. It could indicate cervical cancer.