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The golden period for treating cancer is when it is localized and has not spread to distant organs. But this is only possible when the disease is caught in its early stages. This is only possible if one is not ignorant about the warning signs of cancer.

Women are very particular when it comes to the health needs of their family members. However, they tend to get lax when matters pertain to their own health. Apart from this careless attitude, many women are ignorant about certain health conditions. This is especially true in case of cancers. Many women believe that cancer is a disease of the old and hence, often ignore the early warning signs of the disease.

Many a times, even if they notice these signs, they develop an attitude of denial. For them, cancer is a disease that affects others; they believe they are immune to it. Because of this attitude, the condition is often diagnosed when it is too late for treatment.

Remember that many cancers are completely curable when detected and treated early. However, if they metastasize to other organs, the prognosis no longer remains good. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize the early warning signs of cancer. Some of these signs which every woman should be aware of include:

Unexplained weight loss

Which woman would not like to lose some weight? But if it is drastic, say around 10 pounds in a month even though you have not been exercising or dieting vigorously, instead of rejoicing, sit back and think. Unexplained weight loss is a reason enough to go and see a doctor.

Experts say that one of the biggest reasons behind unexplained weight loss is cancer. The doctor may check your thyroid or run scans of different areas to rule out other causes and ascertain whether the diagnosis of cancer is indeed true.

Changes in the breast skin

This is one sign that women usually do not miss. However, most of them think that breast cancer usually presents as a lump in the breast tissue. So even when they notice some changes in the overlying skin of the breast or the nipple, they tend to ignore it. But doctors would like to tell you that any redness over the skin of the breast persisting for more than two to three weeks may be indicative of a rare but very aggressive form of breast cancer, namely the inflammatory breast cancer.

Similarly any discharge from the nipple or change in its position should not be taken lightly.

Any non-menstrual bleeding

Bleeding in between the periods, especially if your periods are normally on time, should ring a bell. Similarly, any vaginal bleeding, once you have attained menopause, should alert you. It could be a sign of endometrial cancer which should be treated at the earliest.

Similarly, presence of blood in stools should also be reported to the doctor. It could be something as simple as hemorrhoids or it could be an early warning sign of colorectal cancer.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “15 Cancer Symptoms Women Ignore’, by Kathleen Doheny for WebMD, last reviewed on December 19, 2011, accessed on March 6, 2013
  • “Women: Cancer Symptoms You're Most Likely to Ignore”, by Melanie Haiken for caring.com, accessed on March 6, 2013.