Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Cancer- signs and symptons you should not ignore!
I was diagnosed with stage 2b Cervical Cancer just over two years ago. It was a highly aggressive. I had a pap smear in December that was clear, and was confirmed with a pap smear in April. I could have caught it sooner, but I ignored the signs. I had heart burn and bloating that was persistent, nothing seemed to treat it. It took me too long to see my internist.
I put myself last. Two years later I am still fighting this battle, but it might have been different. Please read the most common sign that women ignore, so you won't be one them.
When your newborn baby gets the sniffles, what do you do? You pick up the phone and call your pediatrician. Then you bring the poor baby into the doctor's office so they can have a look and tell you to steam up the bathroom and your baby is really and truly JUST FINE. But you still needed the peace of mind that came with the doctor actually seeing your child in person.
Over time some mothers relax. We treat fevers and stomach bugs at home, perhaps just a few conversations to check in with our pediatricians. Different moms have different sick child styles, and as long as you get your children to the doctor when it's serious that's fine.
So, why is it that we seem to put ourselves last? Most children never miss their annual physicals, in fact schools and camps won't allow it. My son's school will not let him return without a doctor's note if he's been absent for more than three days. There are checks and balances in place to guarantee that we are taking care of our kids in every way possible- these days they are even checking their BMIs. What are we doing for ourselves?
Somehow, moms always fall to the bottom of the list. When we get sick, we can't call our boss and say that we're not coming in to work! But are we ignoring more serious signs of illness? Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body.
Here are some of the warnings that you SHOULD NOT IGNORE!
1. Weight loss- more than 10 pounds in one month (if you are not dieting). Unexplained weight loss is sure sign that something IS seriously wrong! Make sure that your doctor rules out thyroid problems and Cancer!
2. Bloating- this should not occur every day (especially if it goes along with abdominal pain or pelvic pain and increased need to urinate). This is the number one sign of Ovarian Cancer!
3. Changes in your breasts- a rash, hardening, inverting of the nipples (excluding when you are breastfeeding) any changes of the skin texture can indicate a very rare, but series form of Breast Cancer. Always check for lumps!
4. Bleeding between periods- this is NOT normal (unless this is always your normal), neither is bleeding after menopause. This can indicate Endometrial Cancer, Colon Cancer, Rectal issues or other GI issues.
5. Fatigue. Prolonged or persistent fatigue is your body's way of telling you that something is wrong. A battle is going on inside. This battle could very way be physical or mental, but if you are tired during the day for more than three weeks, you need to see a doctor.
6. Do you see white patches in your mouth? Do you or have you ever smoked? These white spots, especially on your tongue can indicate a precancerous condition called leukoplakia that can progress to oral cancer.
7. Blood. If you find blood in fluid where it does not belong, save it and get it checked out. That means in your urine, stool, and phlegm.
8. Pain. I know that sounds vague, but pain can indicate many things. Some pain goes along with Cancer, others can point to a neurological condition. More simply sometimes pain comes from fatigue and depression.
9. Constant indigestion or heartburn? RED FLAG! Cancer of the throat, esophagus, or stomach.
10. Difficulty swallowing- perhaps it seems minor and you've changed your diet. You are eating softer foods, more liquids etc- this indicates a GI issue!
11. Persistent stomach ache? Does it feel like a gnawing pain? Do you feel depressed? See an GI and ask about Pancreatic Cancer.
12. Lymph node changes. If you have a swollen lymph node that stays that way, or gets larger over a period of weeks or longer, see your doctor- that need to perform a biopsy.
13. Fever. Fevers in adults are rare, and do indicate an infection. They are also a sign that Cancer has spread or of a blood Cancer. If your fever persists, see the doctor.
14. Changes in skin pigmentation- we all know to watch for moles, but even slight changes in skin tone can be the first clue to skin Cancer.
"The name of the game is taking care of yourself, because you're going to live long enough to wish you had." Grace Mirabella
Posted by Eight years and counting at 9:25 AM