Know What’s Normal For Your Body & Recognise Cancer Symptoms
There are five main gynaecological cancers — cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar — and screening is recommended only for cervical cancer. Therefore, early detection may depend on women recognizing the symptoms and making a doctor’s appointment.
“Many symptoms of these cancers are common, and are not cause for alarm — they may indicate benign conditions, “study researcher Cynthia Gelb, a health communication specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said. “The only way to know what is causing them is to see a health care provider.”
Key to Recognising When Common Symptom Indicates Cancer
“One key to recognizing when a common symptom might actually indicate cancer, is for women to know what is normal for them,” Gelb said.
“Women should know how long their periods normally last and how heavy they are, if they normally feel full quickly when eating, and if their back often hurts,” she said.
“Bleeding that is unusual because of when it occurs, or because it is heavier than usual, is a reason to see a doctor right away,” Gelb said. “For bloating and other symptoms, it is recommended that women seek care if the symptom has persisted for two weeks.”
“Some women report living with symptoms that caused discomfort for extended periods, even years, without seeking care,” Gelb said. Even in the case of unexplained bleeding, many are not aware this could signal gynaecologic cancer.”
“The earlier that gynaecologic cancers are found and treated, the more effective treatment can be,” Gelb said.