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16 Unexpected Cancer Symptoms Every Woman Should Know

Health Logo By Karen Pallarito of Health | Slide 1 of 16: If you were to find a lump in your breast, you’d have it looked at, wouldn’t you? Well, odd or unfamiliar symptoms like swelling in your neck, skin sores that won’t heal, or unrelenting pain deserve the same sort of vigilance. There’s no need to leap to hair-raising conclusions—What if it’s cancer?—when it could easily be something else. But the sooner you get diagnosed, the quicker you and your doctor can take appropriate action. “With all cancers, early diagnosis is key,” explains Stephen Rubin, MD, chief of the division of gynecologic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, “so women ought to feel free to see their physician to have these things checked out.” Depending on your symptoms, medical history, and physical exam results, your doctor may order specific diagnostic tests or procedures to look for cancer and determine if and how far it has spread. We asked physicians specializing in head-and-neck, gynecologic, breast, blood, lung, skin, and other malignancies to describe little-known cancer symptoms women ought to know about. Some of these indicators are surprising and others are more intuitive, but none of them should ever be ignored. RELATED: 9 Breast Cancer Symptoms That Aren't Lumps

Surprising signs of cancer

If you were to find a lump in your breast, you’d have it looked at, wouldn’t you? Well, odd or unfamiliar symptoms like swelling in your neck, skin sores that won’t heal, or unrelenting pain deserve the same sort of vigilance.

There’s no need to leap to hair-raising conclusions—What if it’s cancer?—when it could easily be something else. But the sooner you get diagnosed, the quicker you and your doctor can take appropriate action.

“With all cancers, early diagnosis is key,” explains Stephen Rubin, MD, chief of the division of gynecologic oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, “so women ought to feel free to see their physician to have these things checked out.”

Depending on your symptoms, medical history, and physical exam results, your doctor may order specific diagnostic tests or procedures to look for cancer and determine if and how far it has spread.

We asked physicians specializing in head-and-neck, gynecologic, breast, blood, lung, skin, and other malignancies to describe little-known cancer symptoms women ought to know about. Some of these indicators are surprising and others are more intuitive, but none of them should ever be ignored.

RELATED: 9 Breast Cancer Symptoms That Aren't Lumps

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