Women: Cancer Symptoms You're Most Likely to Ignore

Mature woman dreaming

Routine tests like pap smears and mammograms are important, but don't rely on tests alone to protect you from cancer. It's just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that's different, odd, or unexplainable. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by less serious conditions, they're worth getting checked out if they persist. You don't want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize too late that symptoms they'd noticed for a long time could have sounded the alarm earlier, when cancer was easier to cure.

1. Wheezing or shortness of breath 

One of the first signs lung cancer patients remember noticing when they look back is the inability to catch their breath. "I couldn't even walk across the yard without wheezing. I thought I had asthma, but how come I didn't have it before?" is how one woman described it. Thyroid cancer can also cause breathing problems if a nodule or tumor begins to press on the trachea, or windpipe. Any breathing difficulties that persist are reason to visit the doctor.

2. Chronic cough or chest pain

Several types of cancer, including leukemia and lung tumors, can cause symptoms that mimic a bad cough or bronchitis. One way to tell the difference: The problems persist, or go away and come back again in a repeating cycle. Some lung cancer patients report chest pain that extends up into the shoulder or down the arm.


8 days ago, said...

I keep getting low blood counts and then back to normal i am worried sick and find it hard to breath my doctor has refered me to hospital but didnt say why.


about 1 month ago, said...

6 yrs ago at only 38 yrs old, I THOUGHT I had a pulled shoulder muscle & I saw Dr's & even received a cortisone shot, & it only got worse! The pain moved all the way down my under arm, into my hand. It wasn't until I noticed my left eye was slightly drooping, the pupil was smaller than the other one & I stopped sweating on that side of my head & face that I definitely knew things were really bad! I honestly would have let them cut my arm off, the pain was so bad! I saw a Neurologist & learned I had symptoms of Pancoast Tumor in my brachial plexus the size of a tennis ball! I underwent aggressive treatment, and had some serious surgeries and with a wonderful dr , my strong will to live....I've survived thus far!! EVERYONE...listen to your body!!!


8 months ago, said...

I can't get any doctor to check me out. where do you find a doctor that really cares in San Antonio. My brother passed a few years ago with a stomach cancer that went undiagnosed. They really don't know what it was because his whole body had it and they couldn't tell where it originated from and it was too late to really treat. all my doctors say that if I go in for one thing, they cannot treat another symptom and I have to schedule another appointment. By that time, I either forget or have a new symptom. Feeling nauseous all the time and alkaseltzer doesn't help.


over 1 year ago, said...

I've got 9 symptoms wow


over 1 year ago, said...

3 weeks ago my wife had a doctors appt for a colonoscopy at 7:00 am by 10:00 am she was having surgery for cancer. Ladies go get a colonnoscopy exam asap. IT SAVED A LIFE 3 WEEKS AGO


almost 2 years ago, said...

Indeed it was helpful to know the symptoms of different types of cancer which is a killer disease. Many manny thanks.


almost 2 years ago, said...

My wife lost 41 pounds in a month and a half. Her voice changed also.no exercise or diet involved


almost 2 years ago, said...

Bleeding like you have a perriod after menopause can also be a sign of Uterine Cancer.


about 2 years ago, said...

I have been experiencing pain and swelling in my left breast alone, and it has recently spread to my underarm and down my arm with no relief. My drs. Just tell me they aren't worried about it, because there is no redness or sign of infection. Yet the pain is growing, and my dr. Doesn't seem phased.


about 3 years ago, said...

I'm 37 and I was scared to find that I have alot of the various symptoms listed on here. There needs to be a full body scan like on Star Trek and doctors that give a crap. I told my dr about some of my symptoms 3 months ago and she took a blood test and said I'm fine. I live in NC. I will be going to a different doctor. I have back pain, cough, stomach upset constantly and fatigue. That fits everything almost.


about 3 years ago, said...

All of the signs and warning, very helpful


about 3 years ago, said...

please let all women know the endometrial/ uterine biopsies done in doctors' offices are very inadequate tools to test for uterine cancers. the procedure needs to be done in a hospital.i had an endometrial biopsy on jan 21, 2013 and was told it was negative.guess who had a hysterectomy in april and found she has stage three uterine cancer?when i asked my current obgyn why my previous one had not found this, he told me the biopsies done in the offices aren't accurate because only one tissue snip is usually taken and the cancer may not be where the tissue was removed from.i had fibroids and had wanted to have an embolization if there was no cancer.my abdominal pain spread from my left side to the right and became unbearable.my hysterecotomy was 2 months overdue as the cancer grew outside my uterus .if i had had any idea that the biopsy result could be false,i would have immediately scheduled surgery and prevented myself three months of horrific pain and tremendous emotional and physical suffering now.


about 3 years ago, said...

My doctor has found 16 spots in both my lungs. He said it is either cancer in both lungs and there is nothing I can do about it, or it isn't cancer and therefore nothing needs to be done. This left me feeling hopeless and uncertain. If I have cancer in both lungs is there no treatment to help?


over 3 years ago, said...

I was unaware of some of the symptoms of several cancers mentioned in the article. It is always good to stay up-to-date on the symptoms to watch out for, and reminders to pay attention to any unusual changes to how our bodies function and feel. Its so easy to take things for granted, for too long, when early detection makes such a difference in treatment and outcome. Thank you, again, for the informative reminders.


over 3 years ago, said...

i have been experiencing a lot of these symptoms and my doctor refuses to send me to a mammogram or do a pelvic ultrasound, she sees I have a history of depression and says, just get back on your meds. This is Iowa.


over 3 years ago, said...

Since I have COPD, to know about pain and wheezing and why it could be something else causing it. also shortness of breath


over 3 years ago, said...

A couple things that I'm going to continue asking about that so far doctors 'pooh pooh'. Ditto something that I've noticed but haven't followed through on. ALSO, not to scare her nor to have her think I'm a worry wart, especially since she is now all of __ 41 __ years old, but I am going to email this or forward it or something so that she can read it in privacy and at her 'convenience' - although I'll tactfully focus on her not just ignoring it indefinitely, either. *~^~* Thank you.


over 3 years ago, said...

What a wonderful article. So many things I didn't know and that we all need to look out for. My 34 year old daughter often gets bloated and then it goes away, and she often feels full at the stomach. I pushed her to go to the clinic and she has an appointment at the end of the month. Women need to tell other women about these symptoms.


over 3 years ago, said...

who knows where waldo is..? oh wait i found him, he's been the lump in my breast for years


over 3 years ago, said...

Everything was very important. Plus, everything that was said was also told to me from my doctor...


almost 4 years ago, said...

I'm just wondering, does having osteoartheritis be a sign of one of the liver cancers, chronic pain in the lowerback .


almost 4 years ago, said...

Im 61 yrs Old And Had A Hys.in 79 Have my Ovaries I Was Told I dont need Hormones Pi9lls Any more,Nor a Pap Smear since i m off the pills now.