18 Cancer symptoms women are likely to ignore

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- While there are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, every single one starts the same way -- with a single abnormal cell that grows out of control.

"Cancer cell growth is different from normal cell growth," explains the American Caner Society's website. "Instead of dying, cancer cells continue to grow and form new, abnormal cells.

"Cancer cells can also invade (grow into) other tissues, something that normal cells cannot do. Growing out of control and invading other tissues are what makes a cell a cancer cell."

DNA damage is what causes a cell to go off the rails, so to speak. That damage can be inherited, environmental, or a mistake that occurs during reproduction.

Normally a cell repairs the damage or simply dies. When that doesn't happen and the cell continues to reproduce, it passes on the damaged DNA to the new cells. That's where the trouble starts. In most cancers, those abnormal cells grow into tumors that eventually invade or even replace healthy tissue.

Cancer, taken as a whole, is not rare.

"Half of all men and one-third of all women in the U.S. will develop cancer during their lifetimes," according to the American Cancer Society.

Signs and symptoms of cancer vary with the type, but some symptoms can be falsely attributed to another condition or else seem innocuous. Either way, they are often ignored, and that can be dangerous -- even deadly.

18 common symptoms you might be ignoring

1. One of the first signs of lung cancer is the inability to catch your breath.

2. A bad cough or bronchitis, that persists, or goes away and comes back

3. Fever, achiness, and flu-like symptoms over an extended period of time can be signs of leukemia.

4. Trouble swallowing is sometimes one of the first signs of esophageal cancer or throat cancer.

5. A lump or an enlarged lymph node under the arm is sometimes a sign of breast cancer. A painless lump in the neck, underarm, or groin can be an early sign of leukemia.

6. Bruising in strange places, such as on fingers and hands, or chest

7. Generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of many different kinds of cancer.

8. Unexplained abdominal bloating that came on suddenly and continued on and off over a long period of time

9. Feeling full or unable to eat can be a sign of ovarian cancer.

10. Pelvic pain can be a common symptom of uterine fibroids or ovarian cancer.

11. Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, is one of the most common things doctors hear when diagnosing colorectal cancer.

12. Unexplained weight loss is an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers.

13. Everyone knows to check for lumps in the breasts, but inflammation, redness or nipple discharge can also be signs of breast cancer.

14. One of the most common changes women remember noticing before being diagnosed with breast cancer is a nipple that began to appear flattened, inverted, or turned sideways.

15. Unusually heavy or painful periods or bleeding between periods

16. Patients with lung cancer report noticing puffiness, swelling, or redness in the face.

17. Watch moles for changes that might indicate skin cancer.

18. Pain in the back or lower right side can be a sign of liver cancer.

Dr. Mollen's practice is located at 16100 N. 71st St. in Scottsdale. For more information, call 480-656-0016 or log on to www.drartmollen.com.