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Cancer symptoms that women often ignore

18 Jan, 2023

Cancer symptoms that women often ignore

It is not unusual for women to have heavier menstrual bleeding or light bleeding outside of the period. In most cases, this is completely harmless.

However, in some cases, symptoms that initially seem harmless can also have a serious cause and be a symptom of cancer, for example. That is why we want to sensitise women to this important topic in the following and point out some potential symptoms of cancer that experience has shown are quite often ignored.

The most important facts about undetected cancer symptoms at a glance

  • Because cancers often start with no symptoms, early diagnosis can be difficult.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding and frequent spotting or bleeding between periods can be early symptoms of cancer in women.
  • If bleeding occurs after the menopause, a prompt medical examination is essential.
  • Pain in the abdomen or lower abdomen and weight loss can sometimes also have a serious cause.
  • If periods stop several times in a row, women should definitely schedule a visit to the doctor.
  • Regular check-ups are crucial for early detection.

period underwear

Usually no symptoms in the early stages

In the early stages, uterine and cervical cancer usually do not show any symptoms. This makes it difficult to detect the cancer at an early stage.

That's why it's all the more important to have regular check-ups with your gynaecologist. Of course, this also applies if you are feeling well and your menstrual cycle is completely normal.

Heavy bleeding can be a warning signal

Unusually heavy menstrual bleeding can be an early symptom of both uterine cancer and cervical cancer. This also applies to frequent spotting and bleeding between periods.

In many cases, bleeding outside of the period is just as harmless as a somewhat heavier menstruation. However, if in doubt, you should consult your gynaecologist to be on the safe side and to rule out a serious cause.

Bleeding after the menopause

If women start bleeding after the menopause, it could be a sign of cancer. If you have already gone through the menopause and you start bleeding, it is strongly recommended that you see your gynaecologist as soon as possible.

Bleeding during physical exertion

Cervical cancer can occasionally make itself felt through bleeding after physical exertion such as sport or after sex. If this happens to you, a gynaecological examination is definitely recommended.

Unusual vaginal discharge

As a woman, you know that vaginal discharge is perfectly normal. However, if the vaginal discharge has a bad smell or is bloody, it could be a symptom of cancer and you should get it checked out.

Pain in the abdomen

Another possible symptom that can sometimes indicate cancer is pain in the abdomen or lower abdomen. With cancer of the uterus, this can sometimes feel similar to labour pains.

If you have this on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to have a gynaecological examination to find out what is causing the abdominal pain.

period pantsSudden weight loss

Lack of appetite and weight loss are also symptoms that occur early in the disease and can indicate a cancer such as uterine cancer or cervical cancer.

Although you may be happy to see that your scales are showing a little less weight, it can sometimes be useful to see a doctor to find out what is causing it.

Irregularities in your menstrual cycle

It is not uncommon for women's menstrual cycles to fluctuate. However, sudden irregularities can be a warning sign.

If you don't get your period, a visit to your gynaecologist is advisable. At the latest, if you miss your period three times in a row, or if there are other possible symptoms, a visit to the doctor to find out the cause is definitely essential.

Early treatment increases the chances of cure

As with other cancers, the earlier the disease is detected, the better the chances of cervical cancer and uterine cancer being cured.

For this reason, it is very important that you take possible symptoms seriously. After all, if in doubt, it is always better to have seen your gynaecologist once too often than once too seldom.

Possible cancer symptoms in advanced stages

In advanced stages, cancer can spread from the uterus or cervix to other organs. This can then manifest itself with a number of other symptoms.

Some of the possible symptoms of advanced disease include:

  • Problems with urination 
  • Bloody, red-coloured urine 
  • Bleeding from the bladder 
  • Problems with bowel movements 
  • Reduced bowel function 
  • Back pain radiating into the pelvic region
  • Vaccination against cervical cancer

Cervical cancer is usually caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There is a vaccination against HPV viruses that is recommended by the Stiko between the ages of 9 and 14.

Cervical cancer, on the other hand, has completely different causes than cervical cancer. Prevention through vaccination is therefore not possible.

Cancer symptoms in women - our conclusion

As you can see, some supposedly harmless symptoms can have a serious cause. Fortunately, in most cases this is not the case. Nevertheless, if in doubt, you should always consult your gynaecologist to get to the bottom of any unusual symptoms.

Keep in mind that cancer can often be treated relatively well if it is diagnosed in time.