Have you seen your gynecologist in the last year? Recently, doctors have changed the time in between pap smears from once a year to three years between visits. If your family has a history of cervical or ovarian cancer, you may want to make annual appointments. Or, if you do not have a family history, but are noticing any of these vague symptoms, do make an appointment with your gynecological oncologist to get checked for cancer.
Easy-To-Miss Signs of Cervical and Ovarian Cancer
Vaginal Bleeding—But After Menopause
In 90 percent of cases, doctors find a harmless reason for post-menopausal bleeding. But that means 10 percent of cases have an abnormal link that could be traced to endometrial or cervical cancer.
Heavy and Abnormal Periods
If you’ve noticed an increase during menstruation that’s not normal for you, especially if it’s happened the last several periods, do make an appointment to see your doctor. Your body could be raising a red flag for cervical cancer. “You should also see your doctor about bleeding after intercourse or bleeding between your periods,” says Dr. AlHilli, an obstetrician-gynecologist.
Persistent pain in the abdomen, even small signals like gas, indigestion, bloating and cramps shouldn’t be shrugged off. These signs may indicate ovarian cancer, one of the most elusive women’s cancers to diagnose.
Surprise Weight Gain or Weight Loss
Women with ovarian cancer typically experience weight gain, from tumor growths, which often go undiagnosed until they get quite large. If you notice weight gain primarily in the abdomen with an accompaniment of these other symptoms, make an appointment with your gynecologist.
Loss of Appetite
If your diet has not changed and you’ve not increased your exercise, but still lost more than 10 pounds quickly in a relatively short time, consult your doctor. In some cases of ovarian cancer, your metabolism slows or affects your desire for food.
With symptoms this vague, many shrug them off to be a stomachache or a stroke of luck at some convenient weight loss. However, your best line of defense at catching reproductive cancers early is to remain aware of recurring symptoms, find a gynecologist you like and stay current with your pap smear appointments. Learn more about women’s health and women’s cancers to stay in the know about conditions and treatments.