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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 6

By , Caring.com senior editor
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18. A sore or skin lump that doesn't heal, becomes crusty, or bleeds easily

Most of us know to watch moles for changes that might indicate skin cancer. But other signs, such as small waxy lumps or dry scaly patches, are easier to miss. Familiarize yourself with the different types of skin cancer -- melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma -- and be vigilant about checking skin all over the body for odd-looking growths or spots.

19. Changes in nails

Unexplained changes to the fingernails can be a sign of several types of cancer. A brown or black streak or dot under the nail can indicate skin cancer, while newly discovered "clubbing" -- enlargement of the ends of the fingers, with nails that curve down over the tips -- can be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails can be an indication that your liver is not functioning properly, sometimes a sign of liver cancer.

20. Pain in the back or lower right side

As vague as this sounds, many cancer patients say this was the first sign of liver cancer, known as one of the "silent killers" (another is ovarian cancer). Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer often recall having had chronic back pain unrelieved by painkillers. Breast cancer is also often diagnosed via back pain, which can occur when a breast tumor presses backward into the chest, or when the cancer spreads to the spine or ribs.