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For Women Only: Cancer Symptoms You're Most Likely to Ignore

Women: Cancer Symptoms You're Most Likely to Ignore: Page 5

By , Caring.com senior editor
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14. Excessive bruising or bleeding that doesn't stop

This symptom usually suggests something abnormal happening with the platelets and red blood cells, which can be a sign of leukemia. One woman with leukemia described bruising in strange places, such as on her fingers and hands, as well as red spots on her face, neck, and chest. Another noticed bleeding gums. The explanation: Over time, leukemia cells crowd out red blood cells and platelets, impairing the blood's ability to carry oxygen and clot.

15. Weakness and fatigue

"I kept having to sit down at work, and one night I was too tired to drive home," said one woman in describing the fatigue that led her to discover she had leukemia. Generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of so many different kinds of cancer that you'll need to look at it in combination with other symptoms. But any time you feel exhausted without explanation and it doesn't respond to getting more sleep, talk to your doctor.

16. Unexplained weight loss

If you notice the pounds coming off and you haven't made changes to your diet or exercise regime, you need to ask why. Weight loss is an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers; it's also a sign of cancer that's spread to the liver, affecting your appetite and the ability of your body to rid itself of wastes.

17. Swelling of facial features

Some patients with lung cancer report noticing puffiness, swelling, or redness in the face. The explanation for this is that small-cell lung tumors commonly block blood vessels in the chest, preventing blood from flowing freely from the head and face.