10 Cancer Signs and Symptoms Often Ignored by Women

Some symptoms of cancer are well known. Others may be ignored. Women know to look for lumps, oddly shaped moles and breathing difficulty as signs of cancer. Unfortunately there are many other cancer symptoms that may be ignored. Here are the top ten signs of cancer ignored by women.


Bloating may be ignored by women as part of regular monthly symptoms. Bloating is also a symptom of ovarian cancer. Bloating due to menstrual cycles is fairly regular. Watch for sudden and irregular bloating accompanied by pain as an indication of ovarian cancer.


Menopausal women may ignore intermittent fevers, dismissing them as hot flashes. Fevers can indicate leukemia, a blood cancer. Leukemia produces abnormal white blood cells, leaving the body unable to fight infection. Fever is the body’s way of fighting infection.

Irregular menstrual spotting or bleeding

Monthly cycles change as women age. We may ignore irregular spotting and bleeding as periods start to come and go. Bleeding between periods could be a sign of endometrial or uterine cancer. Insist upon further tests if you feel bleeding is abnormal.

Back pain

Breast cancer and liver cancer both present symptoms including back pain. Women often have monthly back pain and may ignore this warning sign. If back pain is not a common occurrence or the back pain feels different than normal, see a doctor for diagnoses.

Lymph node swelling

Swelling of the lymph nodes may be ignored by women. This symptom sometimes occurs with colds or the flu. Swelling under the arm can indicate leukemia or breast cancer. Leukemia can be deceiving since swelling is painless and can present in the lymph nodes of the neck or groin as well.

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Weight loss

Women tend to fluctuate in weight during monthly cycles as well. Women may ignore weight loss symptoms until they become extreme. Rapid unexplained weight loss is a sign of many different types of cancer and should be taken seriously.

Blood in stool

Women have a tendency to take better care of others than themselves. Cancer symptoms such as blood in the stool may be ignored or dismissed as hemorrhoids. Blood in the stool is one of the main signs of colon cancer.

Breast redness or rash

A rash or redness on the breast may be mistaken for an allergic reaction. Women would do well to pay close attention to any changes in their breasts. Redness or swelling can indicate inflammatory breast cancer. Do not ignore signs of this fast acting cancer.

Difficulty swallowing

Women with difficulty swallowing may dismiss this cancer symptom as a simple sore throat. Difficulty in swallowing can indicate cancer of the esophagus. Lung cancer also presents itself this way. Ignoring persistent difficulty in swallowing could be a fatal mistake.

Pelvic pain

Women have pelvic pain on a monthly basis. Some women ignore this symptom of ovarian cancer thinking it’s only cramps. Pelvic pain accompanied by bloating that is unusually intense or irregular should be taken seriously.

Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice.

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